Want authentic barbecue flavors? Cook your foods over real charcoal.

Nothing brings out true barbecue flavors like grilling your food over real charcoal. Below are some important tips to keep in mind while grilling over live coals. For extensive information on charcoal grilling from the experts at Kingsford® Charcoal, visit www.kingsford.com/how-to-charcoal.

Always make sure you cook to USDA-recommended safe internal temperatures. Want to know more? Check out the USDA’s official food safety education site.

There are three basic ways to cook over live coals: direct grilling, indirect grilling over a two–zone fire, and smoking.

  • Direct grilling—cooking directly over the coals—is best for foods that take less than 30 minutes to grill, including boneless chicken, steaks, fish fillets, hamburgers and hot dogs. Position and cook food directly over briquettes.
  • A two-zone fire is created when you pile all the hot coals onto one side of the grill, leaving the other side empty. This configuration allows you to sear your foods over the high heat side and then move them to the cooler side to finish cooking through or avoid flare-ups if your food starts to burn.
  • Indirect grilling is recommended for foods that take longer than 30 minutes to cook, like roasts, whole turkeys, bone-in chicken, ribs and briskets.
  • Rub the grilling surface with vegetable oil or spray with nonstick cooking spray before grilling to prevent food from sticking. You can also brush a light coat of oil onto your meat just before placing it on the grill.
  • Trim excess fat from meats to prevent flare-ups. Keep fat trimmed to 1/4″ or less.
  • Prevent sudden flare-ups by using a marinade on meats prior to cooking.
  • Use tongs or a spatula to turn food. Poultry and meat can lose flavorful juices and moistness when pierced by a fork.
  • KC Masterpiece barbecue sauces contain sugars, like molasses and honey. These will burn if left unattended over high heat. Instead, brush on thick, sweet sauces only during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
  • After cooking or grilling large cuts of meat, cover with foil and allow meat to “rest” for approximately 10 minutes before cutting. Doing so will allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat and not drain out onto your cutting board.