Getting started with an outdoor charcoal bbq

Most people love a barbecue – there is something special about being able to cook and dine outdoors. It’s not, however, always that straightforward to get a BBQ right – especially if you’re opting for a ‘traditional’ outdoor charcoal grill to produce your fare.

Here are some tips as to ease the process and help ensure your BBQ event is a success:

The whole point – prepare the food

Prepare the food as much as you can in advance of the event and the actual cooking. Regardless of how simple – or advanced – the dishes you are preparing, ensure that you have all the ingredients and accompaniments available, and that you have accurately identified all the serving – and therefore, the cooking – times before you get things underway.

It is also advisable, where possible, to have arranged some help in regard to bringing the food to and from the outdoor charcoal grill throughout the event. This will allow you to concentrate on the cooking itself and you won’t have to leave the BBQ grill unattended at any stage.

In other words – plan ahead!

Ensure your grill is properly cleaned

If you’ve used your grill previously, ensure that it has been properly cleaned-out and that the grill plates are free of used charcoal and any other residue from prior BBQ’s, along with any other warming shelves and drip-trays.

Not only is this more hygienic, and easier to use, but will avoid any unnecessary ‘flare-ups’ whilst cooking, making the whole process and event safer!

Lighting the bbq is usually the most troublesome part

If you don’t already have one, then the first thing you should do is buy a Chimney Starter – this item will get your charcoal grill up and running more quickly and easily than anything else. It is also a good idea to invest in decent quality charcoal – briquettes are easy to light, are long-lasting and burn evenly, allowing a controlled and consistent cook.

The other important consideration here, is to remember to light your barbecue grill early – you want to be ready to start cooking when your guests arrive.

Get some high quality bbq accessories

Ensure you have all the relevant BBQ accessories available – a decent set of tongs, fish slice, a good brush for basting, the afore-mentioned chimney starter and, importantly, a quality pair of heat-resistant gloves. If you also invest in a good food thermometer, that will be a great aid to ensure properly, and safely, cooked food for yourself and your guests.

Cooking times depend on how you intend to serve

How you cook – and the order you cook your food in – is entirely down to how you want to conduct your BBQ.

You may want to be cooking throughout the event, or you may prefer to cook everything ‘upfront’ and serve it all at once – the important thing to remember is to not rush your cooking – ensure all the food is cooked thoroughly and to your taste. Perhaps have different heat zones on your charcoal grill, for different foodstuffs, allowing you to cook a number of different items at once?

It is always a good idea to put the lid on your BBQ grill whilst cooking, where appropriate – it traps some of the smoke, making the immediate environment more comfortable and also helping to infuse your food with that smoky flavour that everybody loves from their barbecue!

The main thing to remember when cooking with BBQ grills, is to cook safely – and to enjoy it


OutdoorChef helps you to master every culinary challenge. Whether gas, charcoal or electric, from grilling to cooking or baking: our intelligent barbecue systems and the wide selection of accessories pave the way for versatile barbecuing pleasure and relaxing times outdoors.

We’re are the official UK importer of OutdoorChef and provide the largest product catalogue. You can buy online or contact us for more details.