Best Fire Options

Discussion in 'Grilling Tips' started by quagmire38, May 29, 2015.

  1. Good Morning Everybody,

    Just trying to work on my grilling skills. I recently purchased a new 55 Gallon barrel grill with slide out racks. I do not have much experience with this type of grill but I have always wanted one. My question concerns the charcoal set up. Last weekend I cooked on it for the first time. I set up a two zone fire. One Weber chimney full of coals on the right half and nothing on the left side. The air vent was open. What happened was the side with no coals was running about 215 to 225 degrees. The fuel also burnt out sooner than expected. Not exactly sure what happened. My questions are???
    1.) considering the size of the grill, was one chimney not enough?
    2.) should I have closed off the air vent?
    3.) should I have put charcoal on both sides?

    Any help will be appreciated
  2. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Sounds to me like you're right in the ballpark. For indirect (the side without coals) 215°-225° sounds about perfect for what most folks shoot for. I'm assuming the hot side was hot enough for grilling. As for the coals burning out too soon, how long did they last? What kind of charcoal were you using?
    Finally, what do you plan to do with the grill? If you want to use it for indirect smoking, I'd say you're pretty close. For direct grilling a whole bunch of food, just add another couple chimneys of coal. Best thing to do is to use it and get to know how it runs.
  3. Hey Mdboatbum.
    Thanks for the reply. I am currently using Kingsford Original. I didn't really time how long it lasted. Next time I will time it. My plan for the grill is to trust do grilling. For smoking I have a WSM 18in. For grilling I thought 215 to 250 might not be hot enough.
  4. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    If you are looking for higher temp grilling then you need to add more fuel. I have a couple friends that run that style rig and they use 2-3 20# bags when they are grilling, Keep in mind that they are grilling for large groups. My one friend lights 3 chimneys worth and dumps that in. Then ads unlit to maintain the fire. He doesn't temp the grill but I know he is running mega hot. One more thing is that he typically only has the fire under 2/3-3/4 of the length of the pit. He keeps a small area indirect for keeping meat warm, etc.
  5. Hey Dirtsailor2003,

    Thanks for the reply. I think your friend may be right. Two or three chimneys may be the way to go. When I first burnt out the grill I used two chimneys. I wanted it really hot and it lasted for a long time. I will give it a shot this weekend.
    I am not cooking for large groups but will be one day.
  6. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Kingsford Original should last about 1 hour in the average grill. If you have lots of leaky points for air to get in, it will burn faster...JJ
  7. Thanks Chef Jimmy J.
    Gave it another go today. Made some chicken quarters, chicken kabobs, corn on the cob, couple of brats, and some asparagus.
    I used two chimneys full of Kingsford original and added more to the top. Did pretty good. Food was great.

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