Food & Drink

Newbie to charcoal grilling, some advice please

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  • Sep 23rd, 2020 2:58 pm
[OP]
Deal Guru
Sep 2, 2008
11262 posts
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Newbie to charcoal grilling, some advice please

Never used chArcoal to cook before. When car camping always use wood to cook, but this time looking to try bringing a small portable charcoal grill which we can also use at the park occasionally.

I'm looking at the Weber go anywhere, the Weber smokey Joe (still looks too big for us), and these X style folding grills. Anyone have feedback on these X style folding grills? I really like the concept of them. We have very limited space in our condo for storage and I just can't imagine myself lugging the smokey Joe around.

Any recommended lump charcoal brands and where to get them?

Do I NEED a chimney starter? My wife won't be happy if I buy too many things but if I need it ..I need it.


Anything else to consider? How much charcoal do you need per day, say to feed a family of 6?

I'm bringing everything camping so I want to be very prepared.
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Jan 27, 2004
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T.O. Lotto Captain
Charcoal chimney helps you start the coals in 10 minutes. Very quick...

I say it is required. Otherwise you have to pile up your coals, light it, fan it, etc etc... thats a pain.

Avoid the folding grills. They suck at retaining heat and you’ll burn through a lot of coals, or they won’t light up evenly. They are only good if storage space is most important to you.

A webey smokey joe is a great unit. I have one myself for picnics/camping. Surprised you think its too big... its only a 14 incher. Which is just so-so for a family of 6.

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For illustration purposes... thats 6 burgers. I guess ok for tiny little kids.. but if you got bigger kids... they might want a hot dog to go with the burger!
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Dec 14, 2010
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Recently bought this portable grill for $14.99 for the exact reason due to the lack of storage space. Didn't need a chimney starter for the coals, just piled them and used 2-3 of the fire starter squares from dollarama and it was good to go in about 10 minutes.

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Oct 26, 2002
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BC
UrbanPoet wrote:
A webey smokey joe is a great unit. I have one myself for picnics/camping. Surprised you think its too big... its only a 14 incher. Which is just so-so for a family of 6.

Image

I thought the same thing, they are pretty small. I wouldnt even think it wouId do a family of 6. I had one and never even used it, sold it brand new in the box.
That's my 2cents worth
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Jan 3, 2005
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If storage space is an issue this guy managed to pack all his accessories inside the Weber Go Anywhere grill.

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GTA West
slowtyper wrote: Never used chArcoal to cook before. When car camping always use wood to cook, but this time looking to try bringing a small portable charcoal grill which we can also use at the park occasionally.

I'm looking at the Weber go anywhere, the Weber smokey Joe (still looks too big for us), and these X style folding grills. Anyone have feedback on these X style folding grills? I really like the concept of them. We have very limited space in our condo for storage and I just can't imagine myself lugging the smokey Joe around.

Any recommended lump charcoal brands and where to get them?

Do I NEED a chimney starter? My wife won't be happy if I buy too many things but if I need it ..I need it.


Anything else to consider? How much charcoal do you need per day, say to feed a family of 6?

I'm bringing everything camping so I want to be very prepared.
You can do a couple of trial runs in a local park or your back yard if you want to get the hang of it before a camping trip.

I have the Weber Jumbo Joe as well as the Go Anywhere. These are quality grills that last for years compared to the cheapies you buy at CanTire, etc. that rust out. With the Weber round grills you can remove the handles and legs so that they nest for less space, but re-assembly is a pain. I don't find any of these grills easy to use. It is best to grill foods that need high and direct heat, as it is always hard to control the temperature for things that need slow and long cooking. The main issue I find with these grills is that you can't adjust the height of the grids in order to adjust the heat on your food.

Look up the manuals online - the Weber ones recommend how many briquets to use. I have a chimney but you can do without if you are not in a hurry.

I like using a chimney, but the relatives who borrow my grills prefer the slow ritual of fanning the coals to get them going.
[OP]
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Sep 2, 2008
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Thanks for the suggestions. Family is only 3 (1 small kid), just feeding 6 for this camping trip. I mean it's big in the sense the grill is bulky. I don't have room to store It, that's why I like that folding one.

Usually I feed 6 using a campfire which is fairly small so should be doable. Thanks for suggestions everyone.
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Apr 26, 2013
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Toronto
I've always cooked with lump for years and never used a chimney, or those zip starters always just used enough paper. I tend to keep take away and lcbo bags build a nest pile the lump and away she goes. I do however use a small fan at home and while rarely doing it in parks I did buy a small handheld battery operated fan from a dollarstore and it helps stoke the fire.
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No chimney is doable for sure. So do that if you wanna save space & $15 for a cheapo chimney.
With the pile up+fire starter method.. its going to take some extra time for the coals to get red & white.


I like the chimney because i do a lot of american style bbq low and slow smoked meat.

A chimney gets the coals ROARING hot... all white and red within 10 minutes.
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Sep 1, 2005
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slowtyper wrote: Thanks for the suggestions. Family is only 3 (1 small kid), just feeding 6 for this camping trip. I mean it's big in the sense the grill is bulky. I don't have room to store It, that's why I like that folding one.

Usually I feed 6 using a campfire which is fairly small so should be doable. Thanks for suggestions everyone.
For camping...just bring a grate and use found campside rocks around a fire pit - burn wood to ember and then cook. Marshmallows come out for dessert.

Alternatively, they also sell disposable foil bbqs.
We're all bozos on the bus until we find a way to express ourselves...

Failure is always an option...just not the preferred one!
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Mar 19, 2006
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No need the haul around a chimney for the portable Q's. I always carry one of those portable torches to get the charcoal going.

Image
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gr8dlr wrote: For camping...just bring a grate and use found campside rocks around a fire pit - burn wood to ember and then cook. Marshmallows come out for dessert.

Alternatively, they also sell disposable foil bbqs.
I remember making my own disposable foil bbq’s.
I used a dollar store lasagna pan filled with briquettes...
Then used dollar store folding grill clamp things to hold the meat. It made cooking wings and sausages super easy. Same with burgers... just clamp it and flip everything at the same time.
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Nov 22, 2012
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VANCOUVER
All great ideas.

I'd personally go for one of the Webers. As mentioned, you could wrap all your items in a plastic bag to keep them clean and just stuff it in the BBQ itself.

I have a few ultimate portable units like a Fire Stove and another Chimney Grill that folds up, but I'm very selective in when and where I use them now. Last trip to the river, the winds were extremely strong and the embers were flying so I shut it down for safety reasons. I'd imagine the Webers would contain the embers.

Cooking with charcoal isn't exactly that much different than with wood. Arrange fuel, light fuel, and manage fuel. Nothing wrong with cooking some sausages or brats at home to test first.
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Mar 7, 2005
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4flava wrote: No need the haul around a chimney for the portable Q's. I always carry one of those portable torches to get the charcoal going.

Image
good for ripping dabs after too

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