New to BBQing questions

donnamarienjJune 27, 2011

I have a few very basic questions about grilling.

I have a Weber charcoal grill.

When do I open the bottom vents?

When do I open the top vents?

When do I put the lid down?

What type of charcoal should I use - original or fast lighting?

Last week I cooked whole chicken legs. I crumpled up some newspaper, put the fast lighting charcoal and paper in the chimney, as instructed, waited for the coal to become mostly white, put the chicken on the grill, and closed the lid. I don�t remember whether the bottom vent was open, but the top was. In any event, when eating the chicken later that day, I became nauseous, tasting nothing but chemical in the chicken, which I believe came from the fast lighting charcoal. Should I have not closed the lid? Or should I not use the fast lighting charcoal? I did not use lighter fluid as it was not necessary with the fast lighting coals. There was no seasoning on the chicken - not even salt or pepper. I don�t know if I did one thing wrong, or everything wrong. But whatever I did, I had to throw every piece of chicken out - it made me that sick from the chemical taste.

Any help is appreciated. Thank you!

Donna

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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

When do I open the bottom vents? To let in more air for a hotter fire.

When do I open the top vents? To let smoke out.

When do I put the lid down? I prefer to do most of my cooking with the lid down. However, you need to make sure the coals no longer smell chemical-ish. Then the combination of bottom and top vents help you control the fire and smoke to a level that works well for you and what you are cooking. The more air you let in, the hotter fire you will have, and the more likely you will have actual flames.

This is really fast-smoking but I don't really like blackened, charred meats. This type of thing is a matter of opinion BUT when you start dealing with larger pieces of meat, and meats like chicken that must be thoroughly cooked and take longer to cook, I think it's the best way. An open lid with a flaming fire is good for a steak that you want to eat rare or medium.

What type of charcoal should I use - original or fast lighting? I use whatever kind is on sale - more below...

Last week I cooked whole chicken legs. I crumpled up some newspaper, put the fast lighting charcoal and paper in the chimney, as instructed, waited for the coal to become mostly white, put the chicken on the grill, and closed the lid. I don�t remember whether the bottom vent was open, but the top was. Leaving the bottom vent closed will prevent air from circulating, and starve the fire, which would cause too much smoke to accumulate inside.

In any event, when eating the chicken later that day, I became nauseous, tasting nothing but chemical in the chicken, which I believe came from the fast lighting charcoal. If the charcoal isn't "ready" you will get a chemical taste.

Should I have not closed the lid? Or should I not use the fast lighting charcoal? I did not use lighter fluid as it was not necessary with the fast lighting coals. Charcoal that gets going without fluid added by you has fluid already in it. I prefer the kind without any fluid in it because when I apply it myself, it is only on the outer layer as opposed to it being more permeated into the center of the coals.

There was no seasoning on the chicken - not even salt or pepper. I don�t know if I did one thing wrong, or everything wrong. But whatever I did, I had to throw every piece of chicken out - it made me that sick from the chemical taste. Big pieces of chicken are a huge undertaking for someone with little grilling experience. I prefer to start mine skin-side down and let them cook almost all the way before flipping. Then I can discard the burnt skin and enjoy the juicy meat underneath. Lots of people like to eat that crispy skin, but I don't. I think you needed more air for this fire, and possibly more charcoal to begin with but that detail is hard to determine without seeing pictures.

Anything that takes longer to cook can require the addition of more fuel to the fire. Starting with charcoal is always a good idea,...

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 12:54PM
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donnamarienj

Thank you!

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 6:06PM
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