How to Set Up a Grill

Get grilling like a pro with these tips for setting up a grill.

Great Grilling

Follow these steps to set up your grill correctly and safely. Begin by putting your grill in a safe location.

Choose Your Charcoal

You have two options: charcoal briquettes (left) or hard wood charcoal (right). Charcoal briquettes have medium heat and last a long time, while hard wood charcoal burns hot and fast and adds flavor to foods.

Light the Grill

The safest and most efficient way to light a charcoal grill is with a chimney.

Getting It Lit

Light the paper in the bottom of the chimney. When the coals glow with a live flame and are just starting to ash over, they're ready.

Direct and Indirect Heat

Pour the hot coals onto one side of the grill. This is the hot side with direct heat for searing foods. You can then move food to the cooler side to finish cooking.

Direct Heat

Spread the coals in a flat layer on the grill. The heat is hot and even.

Ring of Fire

Place a small aluminum tray in the center of the lower grill grate and then carefully pour the coals around the tray in a ring. The food sits on the top grill grate in the center and the heat circulates around it, like an oven. Cover for best results.

Preheat the Grate

Place the grate over the coals to preheat. This keeps food from sticking to it.

Check the Vent

Make sure the vent at the bottom of the grill is open, since fire needs air to burn.

Check for Hot Spots

Carefully move your hand 6 inches above the grill grate. If you can only hold it in one place for 3 to 4 seconds, that's the hottest part of the grill. If you can hold it for 6 seconds, then that's a cooler spot.

Clean the Grill

An inexpensive wire brush works well.

Oil the Grill

Use tongs and an oiled paper towel. When the oil is smoking, you're ready to start grilling.

Get Grilling

Now you're ready to start showing off your grilling know-how.