How To Break In A New Charcoal Grill? (ACTIONABLE TIPS INCLUDED)

Many people want to know how to break in a new charcoal grill. This blog post will give you the top tips on how to prepare your new grill for cooking so it lasts longer! 

This article is about learning how to break in a new charcoal grill so that the grate doesn’t warp and the heat distribution isn’t uneven. The grates can be easily warped, because they are thin metal sheets with high temperature exposure when hot coals are placed on them.

Too much heat exposure also means that the food cooked on these grates won’t taste as good as if it were grilled over an old well-seasoned grate.

How To Break In A New Charcoal Grill? Actionable Tips To Apply

So, there are some easy tricks for breaking in a new charcoal grill before you start cooking with it:

Remember, the grill grate isn’t the only thing that needs to be broken in. The lid also needs to be checked for warping and heat damage, as well as any vents it might have.

You should use a combination of direct and indirect heat on your new grill during the cooking process. Simply place hot coals at one end of the top grate so they are touching each other but not resting against any food.

Grill over these hot coals until you start getting smoke from the meats, then move them away from your food or lift up an edge of your food to keep them away so they don’t overcook your meat.

After this initial break-in time, turn off all of the burners underneath your grill and let it cool down completely. Don’t try to clean your new grill grate yet, since the residue might stick and make cleaning harder.

You can also remove the grill grates from your charcoal grill, set them on a work table or flat surface and scrub them with a nylon brush (not metal) and hot water once they’re cooled down. Be sure not to use any harsh chemicals like bleach when washing your grill grate!

Once you’ve done all of this, then you’ll be able to start cooking great food with your new barbecue!

Seasoning A New Grill The Right Way

One of the most common questions I get from readers is about best way to season a new grill. People wonder if there’s one ‘right’ answer, and they want to know what to do without damaging the cooking grate. Well, this post will give you an easy-to-follow plan for getting your brand-new charcoal or gas grill ready for its inaugural trip to the campsite, backyard or patio! It’s an important step in ensuring years of delicious meals and big smiles with family and friends… properly is the most important step in using it for years to come. Follow these simple steps and you will be well on your way to grilling with one of the best possible grills you can buy.

1. Clean Your Grill

You cannot season over dirt and debris so it’s important that you start with a clean grill, or as clean as it can be given that it just came out of the box and was likely covered in oil from manufacturing plants. Take some water and mild soap to give it a good scrub down both inside and out. Let air dry before seasoning.

2. Open All The Vents & Air Intake Slots

For even heat across the smoker, open all vents and air intake slots by turning them counterclockwise. You can turn them all the way, but do not screw them in too tightly!

3. Use Two Coals And No Lighter Fluid

This is important… Using two coals instead of one will ensure that your charcoal lights evenly and it’s a step I highly recommend for beginners. It might seem strange to use more fuel when you are trying to save money by grilling with natural gas or charcoal, but trust me this small extra step will be worth it in the long run. Light the two coals on opposite sides of the grill top grate (like how people used to light their gas stoves), then let them sit for about 20 minutes until they are glowing orange with dark grey the edges. This time allows them to ignite all of the charcoal and also allows them to burn down a bit so that you have a good bed for cooking.

4. Use Your Gloves!

Make sure that you use your grill gloves or oven mitts when handling the hot lid and grates as they will be very hot from just lighting the coals. This is especially important because some brands now make their lids out of stainless steel which can be very painful if it’s touched with bare hands. Do not touch the inside bottom grate either as this too will be super hot from those glowing coals!

The best way to deal with a really hot surface is by using well-soaked paper towels on top of your protective oven mitts/gloves. Lay two or three dampened towels in a ‘Z’ shape on top of the grates and put the hot lid above it. The towel soaked with water will create some steam and help to quickly cool down your cooking surface so that you can handle it with ease.

5. Add One Adjustable Rig To Hold Your Cooking Grate

Forget using bricks, chunks of wood or any other form of improvised stand-in for an adjustable rig designed specifically for this purpose. It will be cheaper too! Pick up a small adjustable rig from your local hardware store (mine cost around $7) and position one leg about half way across the lower vent/intake slot where the extra charcoal was placed earlier. Place one large chunk of wood that is larger than the cooking grate on top of the leg which you just positioned, bend another adjustable rig in the same way and place it half way over the other vent/intake slot. You can leave them like this or adjust them so that they are evenly spaced out across the opening to hold your grates in place, depending on how thick your grates are.

6. Put Cooking Grate On Adjustable Rig

Once your oven mitts and grill gloves have cooled down and it’s safe to touch again, take them off and pick up your cooking grate with one hand and slowly lower it into position over those glowing coals – careful not to burn yourself! Once you’ve got it placed properly, check for any hot spots by slowly moving your hand over the cooking grate. If you feel any areas that are too hot, move them to a cooler area of the grill by nudging those glowing coals with a long metal spatula or tongs until they are properly distributed.

7. Season Your Cooking Grate Properly

Once all of the parts have cooled down and it’s safe to handle again, use a clean rag to wipe some vegetable oil onto your cooking surface both top and bottom – front and back if possible. Make sure that there is just a light coat as this will help with proper browning of whatever you’re about to cook on this new grill! You can also season using fat from leftover meats but please note that high temperatures from extended direct grilling can cause this fat to ignite so it’s not worth the health risks if you do so.

8. Light The Upper Burner

When coals have turned grey on all sides, usually after 45 minutes or so, open up your grill lid and use long tongs to count how many are left within the pile. If there are less than 70% of what you’ve started with, close down that lower intake vent by one third of its total circumference for a small grill or half way for larger grates – unless you want to cook at very high heats which will burn your food quickly! To further control heat output, make sure to remove any loose ash from under the body of your grill before starting it up again. For bigger rigs, if only a few coals are left, use tongs to transfer them over to the pile of unlit ones – these will light faster and spread heat more evenly.

The final step is to light the upper burner by turning on your gas supply until you hear a ‘hiss’ sound from under the lid. Let it run for about ten seconds then turn off your supply and wait at least thirty seconds before opening up your lid as leftover hot gases have not yet been cleared out from those burners. Once all of those gases have dissipated, take that long grill lighter and carefully hold it barely over one of those burners so that a small blue flame begins to flicker upwards – this means that there’s a good flow of propane left.


How do you treat a new charcoal grill?

By following the steps above, you can easily turn your new grill into a battle-tested cooking machine. Just be sure to use it on multiple occasions so that all of those parts have time to break in! How long does it take for a new charcoal grill to heat up? Usually about 10-15 minutes but this is dependent upon how many coals you’re using and what type they are. Never rush into grilling something as big disappointment or more likely injury will certainly follow if you try! What are some things I should never do when cooking with my new charcoal grill? Besides ignoring these instructions completely, here’s one other thing not to do – let the damn lid slam down onto its handles after opening it up during cooking. Bad idea as this can damage hinges which will ensure your lid is no longer properly aligned. Instead, slowly lower the top portion down as to not place stress on any of those areas.

How long should you burn off grill?

If you’re not cooking something the first time, the burn time for your grill should be twenty minutes. If it’s during that initial cooking session then thirty to forty minutes is usually how much effort it takes to burn off all of those factory oils and greases. How do I clean my grill?

Once you’ve finished grilling up some tasty kebabs or perhaps a few burgers or steaks, let your grill cool down completely before removing its lid. Carefully lift one side using potholders as there may still be hot spots underneath which could easily cause burns. Once off, brush out any remaining debris inside before flipping over and repeating these steps on the other side – just remember that this is when your cookware will be most hot so use potholders at all times!

Should you season a new charcoal grill?

Before cooking your first meal on any new charcoal grill, we recommend that you season it in advance by carefully covering both sides of the grate with a thin layer of vegetable oil and placing everything in a 400 degree Fahrenheit oven for at least an hour. This can be done in batches so do not overcrowd the grill in its entirety if only one sheet tray will fit inside.


Charcoal grills are an essential part of any outdoor kitchen. A new grill can be exciting, but there’s a lot to know about how to care for it the right way so that you get years of use out of your investment. We’ve put together some tips on seasoning and breaking in a charcoal grill-for both gas or wood models-to help you keep things running smoothly this summer!

Hopefully these tips will help you get started cooking right away so that you don’t waste too much time before having fun in the backyard with friends and family…

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