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Charcoal used to be the only option for people who wanted to grill. Now, with the availability of gas grills, people have more of a choice in how they cook in their backyards. This isn’t typically a problem, but for those who have grown accustomed to use gas to grill, they may be surprised when they go to a park or other public place and find there are only charcoal options.

You will probably be a bit caught off guard knowing that you do not have charcoal or starter fluid; after all, you wouldn’t need that for a gas grill, now would you? You can always avoid this situation by simply checking the area where you are going to see what they have in advance. Most parks and beaches do still offer grills, however you can pretty much be safe in assuming that they will be charcoal.

If you have never cooked on a charcoal grill before, this can be daunting. One important thing you need to know is that gas grills cook much faster than charcoal, so you must be prepared and adjust your cooking time as necessary. The heating process of charcoal is almost twice as long as gas. Besides that, many charcoal grills do not have covers – so there can be weather obstacles to account for as well. Keep in mind you want the coals to be completely white before you begin grilling, and this can take between 30-60 minutes depending on the elements.

If you have a choice, always pick a grill that has a lid. This will allow the charcoal to become ready quicker. It will also keep the grill more evenly heated, as well as give it the ability to remain hot longer. Sometimes, you won’t have a choice to have a lid. In this case, just shelter the grill from the wind and other elements as much as you can.

If you are having guests, you will probably desire to serve them something more exotic like hot dogs, maybe another meat like steak or ribs. Remember the cooking time – these will take much longer. Charcoal grilling takes a longer time, but there is no denying the marvelous flavor that cooking this way provides. And if you are on a time frame, this marvelous flavor is just as good on hamburgers and hot dogs!