Ideal Charcoal Placement and Arrangement on the Grill

Spring is in full swing and the backyard grills are being fired up around the nation. Steaks, chicken, pork and veggies are being marinated, seasoned and cooked up for family and friends to enjoy. You will find, too, that there is no shortage of advice on what to cook, how to spice, how to grill it, how long to marinate it, etc..

You may even find that there are different theories as to how to arrange your charcoal briquettes in the grill. Many people will tell you that you need to arrange your charcoal into a pyramid, douse it with lighter fluid, set it ablaze and let it burn until the charcoal starts to turn white around the edges. They would then tell you at this point you need to spread your charcoal out evenly so that your meat gets cooked evenly. There is nothing wrong with this method, nothing at all. I’ve used it dozens of times, if not more.

But my preferred method of grilling varies slightly from the one just mentioned. I also arrange my charcoal into a pyramid, douse it with lighter fluid and then light it. After the charcoal starts to turn a little white around the edges I don’t spread them out evenly across the grill. Instead, I do something a little different-nothing! I leave the charcoal to burn in the form of a pyramid the entire time I am cooking.

This type of charcoal placement does require the outdoor chef to pay very close attention to what he/she is cooking, as the grill will remain hotter in the center. What are the advantages of cooking this way, you might ask? The first advantage of this type of charcoal placement is that your grill will remain hotter, longer. You will be able to cook more food for a longer amount of time, if you wish. But the reason that I grill using this method is that everyone in my home likes their meat cooked a little differently. My wife likes the outside of her steak, chicken and pork steaks to have a nice char on them, but still be juicy in the middle and not burned. My children like their meats just pretty well done and I like mine a little pinker in the middle, but with a nice char on the outside.

With traditional charcoal placement you could still have a char on the outside, but it would mean that the middle of the piece of meat would probably be pretty well done. With all of the charcoal remaining in the middle of the grill, the outside edges of the grill are quite a bit cooler (but still warm enough to cook smaller pieces of chicken and hot dogs thoroughly.) Here’s how I do it: I first wait until I can hold my hand about 6″ from the center of the grill for about 4 seconds without it burning. I then place the larger pieces of meat into a circle or ring around the outer edges of the grill, with all pieces pointed towards the center. The portion of each piece that is pointing towards the center will cook faster as it is getting the brunt of the heat. After a short while, I flip all pieces end over end and side to side as space permits. It’s just that simple.

As you’re cooking, the charcoal pyramid will get smaller and smaller but will still retain a good amount of heat. If your meat needs more cook time, you just move each piece closer and closer to the center. As mentioned earlier, this method of charcoal placement does require a little more supervision than others, as the portions of the meat that are pointed towards the center will burn quickly if not monitored closely. But, if done correctly, you will be left with very juicy, thoroughly cooked meat that has a beautiful char on it that can be tailored to your guests desire.

Cinco De Mayo Drink Recipes

From what I had read, one of the main drink ingredients for any drinks related to Cinco de Mayo is tequila. There’s going to be plenty of drinks that have tequila as an ingredient. The drinks served for Cinco de Mayo is no different. Here’s one example which is a common drink called a Tequila Sunrise:

There are plenty of forms and different reciples on how to make a Tequila Sunrise from what I had found.

Tequila Sunrise – Simple Form

1 Sliced Lime
Crushed Ice
4 Oz of Tequila
2 Cups Fresh Orange Juice
1 Oz Grenadine
Ice Cubes
1 Sliced Orange
Fresh Mint Springs

The instructions are to rub the rims of two tall glasses or possibly one big glass. Place the salt on a plate and press the rim of each glass into the salt to coat the rim evenly. Fill the glasses with crushed ice. Combine the tequila, orange juice, and grenadine into a pitcher with ice cubs, stir, and strain into the glasses. Finally garnish with orange slices and mint.

It’s supposed to serve two. But since I like my alchohol, the two servings would probably be one big serving for me. I remember one time I ordered a very big daiquiri that served two. It was for myself and the waitress was pretty shocked and surprised that I wanted that one. One guy with his family cheered me on.

Yes, I do love my alcohol. The thought of it makes me want to go out and get a large Tequila Sunrise for myself. And no, I’m not going to share.

Another recipe I had stumbled across is called the “Cinco de Mayo.”

The reciple is as follows:

2 1/2 Oz White Tequila
1 Oz Grenadine Syrup
1 Oz Rose’s Lime Juice

Basically, shake well with lots of ice and strain into the glass. If you want to, garnish that stuff with fresh lime wedges. I like that recipe. I got plenty of limes at my house which I can subsitute for Rose’s Lime Juice. Now all I need is the Grenadine Syrup and the White Tequila.

There’s also the “Cinco de Mayo 2” recipe.

1 1/2 Oz Tequila
1 Oz Midori Melon Liquer
1 Oz Watermelon Schnapps
1 Gold Foil Covered Chocolate Coin
4-5 Oz 7-Up Soda
1 Lemon

Once you have all these ingredients, pour the watermelon schnapps into a collins glass. Fill it halfway with ice. Stand up a gold foil covered chocolate coin in ice against the contour of the glass. Fill the rest of the glass with ice. It says that afterwards, the schnapps should be chilled. Then you have to tilt the glass and pour the tequila, carefully bring the drink to about an Oz and 1/2 with either 7-Up or Sprite doesn’t matter. Afterwards you’re supposed to float the Midori on top. If you want, garnish it with lime and serve.

All these drinks sound very tempting… And I’m tempted to go to the bar for Cinco de Mayo and drink to my heart’s content. These are drinks I had found.

But it seems that one can possibly make their own Cinco de Mayo drink recipes. From what I read with the recipes, the main ingredient seems to be tequila, a citrus fruit either for the wedges or the juice, and salt.