5 Steps to Becoming a Charcoal Grill Master

When you think of a lakeside cabin, family vacation, what's the first thing that comes to mind? Barbecue! Ok, maybe fishing, swimming ,boating, laughing, smores, campfires and late nights under the stars come to mind first, but you get the point.


The smoky aroma coming from a barbecue grill is an iconic summertime experience that deserves the time and effort to learn how to do it right. Once mastered, grilling becomes a source of pride whether on vacation or not. Done right, it becomes an excellent, go-to, optional cooking method even on a mid-week school night.



Considering the importance of this skill, and the fact that we offer a grill with every cabin rental, we've put together 5 steps to help you become a charcoal grilling master.


Step 1: Have the Right Equipment and Tools for the Job

You wouldn't go swimming in snow shoes, so don't try grilling with a kitchen fork and a pocket lighter. Purchase the proper grilling utensils (a quality pair of tongs being the most important), high quality charcoal, lighter fluid, long-lighter, and of course, a grill that matches the scope of the job. Don't worry about fancy gadgets, like a hotdog holder or a butter wheel until you get a little experience under your belt.


Same goes for money spent on a grill. If you plan to simply cook hotdogs and hamburgers, you can get away with a standard Weber. If you plan on cooking brisket or smoking ribs, or if you've put in your time on a standard kettle-style already, it's time to increase your grill budget and get the grill you deserve!



At Nitschke's Northern Resort, every cabin is equipped with a standard-sized, kettle-style, charcoal grill, perfect for any beef, chicken, fish or veggies you wish to grill.


Step 2: Clean Your Grill

Not properly cleaning your grill can lead to flareups while cooking, an unsavory flavor and unsightly flakes of burnt mess on your food. Not good! Take the time to thoroughly wash the grill and all the tools before you begin to cook. Use a metal brush to scrape away old food debris and wipe down solid surfaces with a water-soaked towel. Many suggest that you should clean your grill after you finish cooking, once it has cooled, but who wants to do all that work with a full tummy!



Step 3: Swap Ashes for Fresh Charcoal Briquettes

Before firing up the grill, make sure you remove all the old ash from last-time's grill. Carefully scoop out and dispose of the ashes, then add a few fresh briquettes. Each briquette will last about 1 hour, so if you are only grilling hotdogs and hamburgers, toss in about 15. If you're planning on cooking steak and ribs, toss in twice that amount and expect that you may need to refill mid-cook.



Step 4: Control the Flame

There is no need to build a flame high enough to touch the meat. This will lead to charred hot dogs and unhappy kiddos. Keep the temp low and slow. This will allow the food to cook thoroughly without getting burned. Experiment with opening the vents, closing the vents and waiting a bit longer for the charcoal to get white and ashy. Find what works for you, then take your time.



Step 5: Timing is Everything

As the grill master of your family (a little ego boost, you're welcome) it's important to finish cooking all the food roughly around the same time so everyone can enjoy a meal together around the picnic table. Start thick meats earlier and put the quick meats or vegetables on last. Timing is everything when it comes to grilling like a pro. Consider how long everything takes to cook, how much space you have on your grill and who's coming to dinner.



Now that you're a charcoal grill master, it's time to try out your skills. Call 715-356-7795 today to book a cabin for your family's next vacation. Each cabin comes equipped with a charcoal grill, a picnic table and plenty of beautiful scenery to look at while you "man" the grill. See you soon!

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Nitschke's Northern Resort

--  A Northwoods Paradise  -- 

PO BOX 583

Minocqua, WI 54548

TEL: 715-356-7795

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