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What Do You Need for a Charcoal Grill?

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If you are building your perfect outdoor recreational setup, and not going with a natural gas grill, you may wonder what you need for a charcoal grill. The most commonly used items for a charcoal grill include matches, charcoal briquettes or lump charcoal, and lighter fluid. The best grills, after all, may require some accessories to get going. Keep reading to learn all about charcoal grills and what you’ll need to get started.


  • Once you purchase your brand new charcoal grill, be sure to also get some charcoal briquettes or lump charcoal to imbue a smoky flavor.
  • You may have to season your cooking grates and cooking surface before using them, so purchase a high-quality oil with a high smoke point.
  • Count on having to purchase some lighter fluid and a high-grade lighting mechanism as well, which you don’t always need for gas grills. You may also need a grill brush for cleaning.

Before knowing what you’ll need to get started, it’s helpful to learn the exact definition of a charcoal grill. As the name suggests, a charcoal grill is an outdoor cooking appliance that uses charcoal as its primary heating element. A charcoal grill is primarily intended for outdoor use if you are wondering if you can grill in the microwave oven.

In fact, charcoal grills are an excellent option for outdoor cooking enthusiasts who prefer the flavor of wood-fired grilling. Using tongs, you can easily arrange the charcoal to create zones of direct and indirect heat for different types of cooking, including indirect cooking for longer cooking times or delicate items like fish or pork.

When using a charcoal grill, it’s essential to keep an eye on the cooking time and use a meat thermometer to ensure that your food is cooked to the proper internal temperature. Overall, charcoal grilling provides a unique taste experience that cannot be replicated by other types of grilling, making it a favorite among meat lovers.

Insider Tip

Some charcoal grills come with electric starting kits, so you won’t need lighter fluid.

What Do You Need to Grill With Charcoal?

Once you purchase your new charcoal grill, whether or not the grill is made in the USA or somewhere else in the world, you’ll need to get some accessories and cooking supplies.


You’ll obviously need some charcoal to get started with your new grill. Be aware, that there are a few different types of charcoal, and each grill may require a different formation. There are charcoal briquettes, charcoal pebbles, and more. In most cases, charcoal briquettes will be your go-to choice but make sure to read the instructions that accompanied your grill before buying your charcoal.

Choose the right charcoal type and charcoal pile formation for your grill. Charcoal briquettes are commonly used, but read the instructions for your grill to ensure you’re using the appropriate fresh charcoal, charcoal lumps, or charcoal pebbles. Incorrect charcoal type or pile formation can impact the temperature and evenness of your grill.

Quality Oil

Before you use your charcoal grill, you are going to have to season the grilling grates. Don’t worry. This is easier than it sounds. Just get some quality oil with a high smoke point, like canola or vegetable oil, and pour it into a spritz bottle. Give the grates a good cleaning, spray them with the oil, and then let the grill on high for an hour or so. Your grates may arrive pre-seasoned, so again, read up on those instructions.s

Lighter Fluid and Lighter

Charcoal coals need to be lit to get and remain hot enough to cook with. In other words, get some high-grade and food-safe lighter fluid and a large lighter apparatus that is long enough for you to retain a safe distance from the grill as you are lighting it. Your grill’s instruction manual should have some suggestions as to the right type of lighter fluid to purchase for your grill.

STAT: pillow-shaped charcoal briquettes burn longer and generally cost less than lumps. Irregularly shaped hardwood lump charcoal is quicker to light and creates a higher temperature. (source)


How to clean a grill?

Clean the cooking grates with a good grill brush, as indirect heat may not adequately clean a charcoal grate or get through a thick layer of charcoal. A wire brush is also handy for cleaning grill grates.

What to grill on high heat?

This depends on your tastes, but some cuts of meat do well with high indirect heat, depending on the necessary internal temperature. You’ll be a grill master in no time.

What should you look for when buying a charcoal grill?

If you have a large family, be sure to get a grill with a large cooking surface with plenty of room for indirect heat.

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