Wednesday, June 25, 2008

WFMW: BBQ-ing with Charcoal Chimneys

I updated this post to add links back to Shannon at Rocks in my Dryer, who hosts the weekly edition of "Works for me Wednesday", where you will find oodles and oodles of valuable tips. Click on over and join the rest of the blogging world at Shannon's blog! (I'm getting very forgetful in my old age)

Nothing says summer like a beautifully grilled fat, juicy, hamburger, steak, ribs, chicken... well -- you get the picture... And, while a gas grill is easy, it just doesn't taste as good as a charcoal grilled slab o' meat.

We own both a charcoal grill and a propane grill, but we rarely ever use the propane grill. In fact, we grill year round -- with charcoal. Yup! It's that good! Well, actually, "we" don't grill, my husband grills, and that's who this tip comes from.

Most people don't like to grill with charcoal because it takes so long to start, takes so long for the coals to get perfectly hot, and if you use fluid lighter -- well, that's just nasty. So, here's a tip to all the charcoal grill lovers that have been living under a rock... and I say that lovingly.

The easiest, quickest way to get your charcoal lighted and hot is to use a charcoal chimney (or starter). It's a metal cylinder with a grate a few inches from the bottom, and a handle on the side. You fill the cylinder with charcoal, and place about two or three pieces of crumpled newspaper on the bottom part of the cylinder (under the grate). You light the newspaper through the holes on all sides. Remember not to use more than 3 pcs of newspaper, because it will smother the fire.

The charcoal on the bottom lights first, and then ignites the rest of the charcoal. It smokes away for about 10 minutes until the coals are turning ashy white and are red hot. Perfect. Then, you just dump the hot coals in the grill (carefully, of course), and grill away! My husband is an EXPERT at this, but I did find a video on You Tube so you can actually see it being done (below), and I've included pictures of our chimney in action.

Most of the time, we use briquettes without lighter fluid on them, but the best charcoal to use is Cowboy lump hardwood charcoal, which we get at our hardware stores and grocery stores. One thing we've noticed... hardwood charcoal burns hotter and tastes far better than charcoal, but doesn't last as long.

One last thing: My sweet trendy-church-friend just started a weight loss ministry at church. She's doing an awesome job. She just emailed out a great recipe that I thought I'd share with you for your healthy summer BBQ-ing... I make something very similar to this (I use lime juice instead of balsamic vinegar, and add finely chopped onion, a teaspoon of brown sugar (Splenda) and no oil), and trust me when I say... it is very, VERY easy, and yummy! We usually eat it with a Caesar or tossed salad. I hope you enjoy it!

Marinated Flank Steak

1/3 cup light soy sauce
1 T. balsamic vinegar
1 T. olive oil
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 flank steak

Combine soy sauce, vinegar, oil, garlic, ginger, and pepper. Put all ingredients and flank steak into a ziploc bag and marinate for at least an hour. Grill or broil the steak and eat with a baked potato and vegetable.


Sandy said...

We love charcoal too - really the best flavor.

Add a little bit of fresh lime juice to that marinade GiBee! YUM!

Hey, come see my GIVEAWAY!


Anonymous said...

We have the worst time with charcoal as well. I am going to go out and buy one of these for sure. I love it. Thanks for the tip. Kelly
PS. I make that flank steak recipe all the time and it is fabulous. My kids love it too.

Shawna said...

I've never heard of these. My husband does all of the grilling because I can never start the fire. I'll have to check into these. Thanks for the info!

Jodi said...

I got my hubby a charcoal grill last year for Father's Day, and like you said, we didn't use it nearly enough...this year we picked up one of the chimneys for around $12.50 @ HD and it has been awesome - we've already grilled a few times since we bought it. Definitely a winner!