Aurora Catering's

BBQ Fire Preparations & Tips

When using real charcoal, douse the coals with as little of starter fluid that is required to light the fire. Allow at least 30 minutes for the coals to catch fire. This will usually give enough time for all of the coals to catch fire and thus provide the hottest heat possible. It will also allow the petroleum smell of the starter fluid to burn away.

If you are trying to start more than 20 pounds of charcoal at once, pile the coals in the highest possible pyramid, douse the coals with about 1/2 cup of starter fluid and light. Allow the coals to flame for about 5 minutes, but when the flame goes out use a garden weed blower and blow air at the base of the pile. This is like using a blow torch, the coals will catch in 1/3 of the time.

If starter fluid is unavailable, try using regular salad oil. Wad a sheet of newspaper and pile the coals over it, then douse the coals with the salad oil. Light the paper as you would using normal starter fluid. This technique is a little tougher to get the coals lit but there are no residual petroleum smells and works when you don’t have any starter fluid.

Use a wire brush to remove the residue from the grilling surface. The previous BBQ’s burnt fat is not very tasty and somewhat unsanitary.

Smoking with one piece of wood. Never place meat directly over an open yellow flame. An open flame is an indication of incomplete combustion, the fire will discolor the meat by leaving a black carbon residue on the meat. Actually an open flame has a lower temperature than coals that are glowing red.

If you are using a propane or natural gas pit and want some smoked flavor, try this!  When you first light the grill add a piece of hardwood on top of the grill.  It will start to smoke and light.  Move it off from heat, the flames will usually go out, and smolder.  NOW you have smoke!!  When done remove the wood and douse with water, reserve the wood for the next time.

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Chef Emile L. Stieffel, Aurora Catering, Inc. email address:
Copyright 1995 Aurora Catering, Inc. All rights reserved.
Revised: November 21, 2016.