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How do I get the fire hot enough?

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Post Mon Jul 14, 2003 10:30 am

I recently bought a char griller and the firebox. I go through a ton of charcoal and chips to keep the fire up. Is there a secret to keeping the heat up without burning so much fuel? I'm going to get some wood, will that help?

Post Mon Jul 14, 2003 2:29 pm
BigBad raw

Posts: 8
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Hi Ace - Sounds like lack of airflow might be the problem. If there are vents located at or near the bottom of the firebox, make sure they are wide open. Same with any vents at the top. This will allow air to be drawn in through the bottom of the firebox to feed the fire and vent out the top. Result will be a very nice hot hot fire.

Hope that helps.

Post Mon Jul 14, 2003 2:32 pm
Luke medium-rare

Posts: 89
Location: Texas

In terms of fuel, wood is hotter than natural lump charcoal which is hotter than briquets. No matter what fuel you use there are only a few things that affect heat. First is the amount of time the material has been lit. They are all hottest when they have stopped flaming and have a nice ashen gray color. After that they will steadily decrease in temperature. Second is the amount air flowing through the grill. If you are looking for heat, open the vents to their maximum position. Third is the distance from fire to food. This should be a relatively short distance. (Say six inches) Finally is the issue of closing the grill. I really like Steven's advice about anything thiker than a hand having a closed grill.
Now with that out of the way you could be having two problems your food is not browning or your food is not cooking through. If you food is not browning try, 1) Preheating your grill grate, 2) cooking before the coals have cooled (about 20 min after they light) or 3 Try piling up a double layer of coals under the food. If the food is not cooking through you should, 1) let the food come up to room temp. before going on the fire, 2) close the lid 3) don't open the lid.

Post Sat Jul 19, 2003 5:49 am
Craig medium-rare

Posts: 63
Location: North Carolina
Hello, Ace. I agree with BigBad, I think air flow is down somewhere. Make sure the fire box grate holds the fire up enough to get air flow from the bottom and that the vents are open.
You may even consider enlarging the vents, or adding a small fan to the fire box. The fan will really eat charcoal, but it will quickly drive the temp back up. I use this to regain my temp after I have turned or basted my pork. Opening the lid sure bleeds off your heat.

Post Sun Jul 20, 2003 5:57 am

I have a Chargriller but don't have the firebox yet. So, at this point I'm speculating, a bit.

I suspect that you need to load more fuel at the beginning of the cook, then close the bottom damper some to increase the burn time. Maybe use the Minion method (unlit charcoal loaded first, followed by lit on top). If you have the vents wide open you're going to get maximum burn rate of the charcoal. Thus, adding enough charcoal and slowing down the rate may let you strike the happy medium between heat needed and total amount of charcoal used. Hope that makes sense.


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