Grilling 101

Don’t be intimidated by the grill. Once you get the hang of it, it’s a simple and fun way to cook.

Here is how you can become a grill master.

Don’t be intimidated — it’s not so mysterious. Just a little fire, a little charcoal, a few cuts of meat and some fresh summer veggies — you’re halfway there!

Here’s what you’ll need: a charcoal grill, a bag of charcoal, charcoal lighter fluid, an extended tip lighter, a metal grill brush, non-stick cooking spray and meat and veggies of your choice.

First, be sure the grill is outside in a clean, open and well-ventilated area; never try to grill with a charcoal fire indoors or under a tree or eaves of your home! Fire can move quickly in the right conditions.

Empty the charcoal into the bottom part of your grill. Be sure to remove the grilling rack and that the grill is clean and free of any previous ash.

Arrange the charcoal into a pyramid shape.

Squirt the lighter fluid around the sides and top of the charcoal pyramid. With your extended tip lighter light the fire immediately. The flames will spread quickly at first. They may die down, but if it’s still smoking, the fire is still going, so don’t add more lighter fluid. That can cause a flare up. So now we just wait.

After about 15 minutes, the charcoal should be glowing and covered with gray ash. When it is mostly covered with gray ash (about 80 percent is my rule of thumb) the grill is ready. If you start to grill before it gets to this state, your food will taste like lighter fluid and is not pleasant. Just trust me on this.

Spread the coals around the bottom of the grill so you have a nice bed of glowing red charcoal. I like to put my grill rack on now and let it heat for a few minutes. Then I clean it well with the metal grill brush. I spray it with non-stick cooking spray (but not over the coals).

Folks, we are good to go. So let’s start grilling!

My favorite grill recipe:


This is surprisingly simple but flavorful and allows the full flavor of the meat to come through.

  • 1 rack of pork ribs
  • 1/4 cup of Lowry’s Coarse Garlic Salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh ground black pepper

Mix the garlic salt and black pepper. Coat the ribs well on each side with the salt and pepper mix and rub into the meat. Allow marinating for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator. Place whole rack on the readied grill. Cook for 10 – 15 minutes per side, turning often to prevent burning. Slice the ribs in the middle of the rack to check for doneness; there should be no red. I recommend a meat thermometer for best results. Keep turning and checking every few minutes. When done, remove from grill and allow cooling a few minutes before slicing the ribs apart between the bones with a sharp knife. Enjoy.