If you like to cook meat on a low temperature between 225 and 250 degrees and you do not have a pellet grill, you have to learn how to keep your charcoal grill at this temperature.
When I started with smoking on low temperatures I had a lot of problems keeping my temperature under control.
This caused several times that my meat was not that tasty and either dry or even burned on the outside. I wrote a post on how to use the air vents on a charcoal grill and this is basically what I also do to keep my grill on 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
There are a few steps that you have to take to keep your temperature consistent.
- Use the same amount of charcoal
- Use a 2 temperature zone set up.
- control the airflow.
By using the same amount of charcoal you start with you know basically what your start temperature will be. After that you can use the Minion or Snake method I described here to keep your grill on 225 Fahrenheit.
The use of the 2-zone setup is not always possible if you have a real small grill, but in most cases, you can use a Weber charcoal basket and achieve this setup.
Although these two things are the first important step to keep your temperature between 225 and 250 degrees. The most important step is to use your air vents the right way and this might take some testing.
Many site tell you to leave your top vent open and regulate the temperature with your bottom vent. This will work well in many cases and on many grills, but not on my grill.
I had to close the top vent to about 50% to even be able to lower the temperature and keep it consistent. With the top vent open, I lost all my temperature and was burning charcoal like crazy.
All together there is no possible answer to this question that will work for every grill and every situation.
One other thing I always use is my Weber Charcoal starter to make sure my charcoal is lit all the way. By using the same amount of charcoal and this chimney starter I am almost certain that I start with the right temperature.
One difference is that you do not burn the coals all the way till they are grey like suggest for grilling. You lose too many coals at the bottom. I pour my coals in the grill when the flames are licking at the top briquettes. You can read here how I use my Weber chimney starter.
The best charcoal to use for cooking on low and slow around 225 are briquettes. The reason is that they are uniform in shape and this makes them all burn the same way compared to lump charcoal. If you like to read more about charcoal briquettes you can read it here.
I like to cook low and slow for the simple reason that it makes the meat very tender. Besides that, it offers another way of using your grill and in this way expand the options you have to use it.
Eddie van Aken
Eddie van Aken has run his own full-service restaurant for many years. Before that, he worked as a grill and buffet cook in some of the mainstream restaurants. With his experience using professional kitchen equipment, he is able to write expert reviews. You can read more about Eddie van Aken here.