May is National BBQ Month – Let’s get grilling!

Dec 5, 2021 | 0 comments

Today I learned that in 1963, the (now defunct) Barbecue Council proclaimed that May is National BBQ month!  So, let’s celebrate and get the grill going at the campground for this season.

Steven Raichlen of Barbecue University and author of one of my favorite grilling cookbooks, BBQ USA, shared these basics on how to fire up the charcoal grill:

1.  Fuel and lighting: 

A chimney starter is an easy hack to make charcoal lighting simple.  Place the coals in the top section and put wadded up newspaper or a firestarter underneath.  Light the firestarter or newspaper and the coals will be ready to use when glowing red, about 15-20 minutes.

Photo of chimney stack on grill
When it’s ready, use gloves and empty the hot coals into the bottom of the grill.

2.  Multi-zone heating: 

You can create two or three zones in the charcoal grill for a variety of uses when cooking.  Use a long handled raking tool to move the coals around for optimum temperatures.  For example, you might want high heat directly over the fire (two layers of coals) for searing.  Other times, you might want to remove a few of the coals to get a more moderate temperature (single layer of coals), or, you can even have an area on the grill with no fire or coals underneath to use as a safe spot to move food to if cooking too quickly.

Image of food on grill with flames
Different heat zones are great for different types of food.

3.  Cleaning the grill grates or bring your own:

Always start with clean grates by using a good grill brush once the grill gets hot.  Since I never really know what the previous campers used on the grill prior to my arrival, I tend to use my own portable grill grate like this one:  You can place this one over the campground grill or over your open fire.  Pro tip:  use some long handled tongs and paper towels soaked in your favorite vegetable oils to keep food from sticking and to give those awesome grill marks we all love.  And clean it after you are done while the grill is still hot!

Image of portable grill grate
This foldable, portable grill grate is perfect to take with you!

These easy tips are a sure fire way to get the family or the Girl Campers coming ’round before the dinner bell even rings.  Happy Grilling!

Article written by Brenda Puckett, Oklahoma Chapter Guide


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