The five key steps to successful charcoal grilling are cleaning the grate before every session, using a coal chimney to quickly and cleanly light the charcoal, placing the coals to establish heat zones, heating the grill for 30 to 45 minutes before cooking and flipping meats over only one time. It is also important to not place a grill near flammable objects or leave a lit grill unattended.
Clean the grill grate using a wire bristled grill brush to keep residue for previous grilling sessions from sticking or contaminating the food being grilled. Crumple a few pieces of newspaper in the bottom of the coal chimney to give it enough fuel to light the coals quickly and efficiently. Using a coal chimney instead of lighter fluid significantly reduces the chances of chemicals ruining the flavor of the food. Let the grill heat for 30 to 45 minutes after lighting the coals until it reaches the right temperature. When placing the coals, concentrate them on one side of the grill rather than spreading them in an even layer. This arrangement makes it easier to cook different cuts and types of meats for the correct amount of time. Burgers and thin steaks can be cooked relatively quickly over high heat, whereas chicken and thicker cuts of meat should be cooked over low heat for longer periods of time. Finally, meats should only be turned once. Wait until the meat juices begin to bubble on top of the meat before flipping it. The clearer the juices are, the more cooked the meat is.