You’ve finally kicked off your gas-grill training wheels and have graduated to a grown-up Weber. But even though you’ve done everything right—from grabbing the chimney starter to buying the appropriate briquettes—your charcoal grill is still not getting as hot as you want it.
Even when you’ve given it the requisite half hour to warm up, oftentimes, your pile of coals can still lack the necessary heat to get a decent sear on meaty steaks. So without draining the dregs of your lighter fluid (and having your dinner taste like a gas-can explosion), what’s the best way to get a hotter charcoal grill?
Line the inside walls of your grill with aluminum foil.
This clever tip comes courtesy of the development chefs at ChefSteps, who explain that the matte black siding of most charcoal grills will actually absorb the hard-earned heat you’re trying to direct toward your hot dogs and, yes, even your hamburgers.
To get around this flaw, they recommend lining the inside of your grill’s bowl with foil—making sure the shiny side is facing out. Now instead of being absorbed by your grill’s walls, the charcoal’s heat gets bounced back toward your food, turning your grill grate from “barely able to toast my burger buns” lukewarm to smoking hot.
Of course, this tip works best with quick-cooking foods like tender vegetables and pieces of fish (as opposed to whole hunks of pork shoulder); to see it in action, check out ChefSteps’ full explanation in the video below.
This month, we’re taking you Beyond BBQ into the deep, dark, drool-worthy corners of the ‘cue world, from Seoul to South Carolina. Smoke will get in your eyes (and your cocktail) as we explore the best pits, tips, roasts and rigs—you might even see a vegetable or two along the way.