Hibachi grilling with charcoal can be a bit of a challenge compared to grilling with gas but with a few tips and pointers I think you will find that it is not only rewarding, but fun too!
First off, the amount of charcoal you use (or number of briquettes) not only depends on the size of your grill, but also on how much food you intend to cook, cooking time required, and weather conditions.
My general rule of thumb is to use approximately 30 briquettes for 1 lb of meat (for comparison, a 5 pound bag typically contains about 75 – 90 briquettes). This can vary some depending on the size of your hibachi grill but you basically want enough charcoal to cover the grill pan in a single layer. If conditions are windy, you will want to increase this some.
Until you get the feel for quantity for your grill, a good trick is to first spread a bed of briquettes in the grill pan. Once the proper quantity has been chosen it is time to prepare for lighting them.
There are 3 basic ways for lighting charcoal:
To use the pyramid method, simply stack the charcoal briquettes in a pyramid shape. Use approximately ½ a cup of lighter fluid (never use gasoline) to soak the charcoal and allow a few minutes to let the chemicals soak into the briquettes. Next, use a long handled match or lighter to light the charcoal.
Once the flames subside and the charcoal begins to ash over you can use a pair of long handled tongs to spread them back out over the grill pan and your charcoal hibachi grill is now ready cook.
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