In addition to requiring a separate setup and varied amounts of charcoal, smoking is a totally different animal from grilling.

There are two primary smoking styles:

  • Low and slow: Most barbecue recipes call for low and slow cooking at 225-250oF.
  • Hot and fast: Anything that reaches a temperature of 325°F or above.

Low and slow

The sort of smoker you’re using and how you set it up will determine how much charcoal to need. This method is one of the best ways to set up a charcoal smoker.

This is perfect for low-and-slow cooking for six to eighteen hours. This entails placing unlit briquettes inside the charcoal ring, lighting a small portion of them (about 20), and then placing them on top.

This approach is wonderful since you can control the temperature using the air vents and the temperature will gradually increase (while you prepare everything else). Once your body temperature has regulated, you can run without stopping for the entire day or night.

Hot and fast

Hot and fast smoking imparts a smokey taste to the meal while cooking it at a temperature between 275 and 350°F (135 and 175°C). Contrary to low and slow cooking, you must fire up your smoker with a full chimney’s worth of hot coals before using the vents and air regulators to maintain a constant temperature.

You may end up with a lot of partially cooked coals because to the high heat and rapid cooking. The good thing is that you can reuse them without cause.



Determining how much charcoal is needed to grill depends on several factors, such as the size of the grill, the cooking temperature required, and the length of the cooking time. During our trial of using a chimney starter to light charcoal, we found that using approximately 60 to 80 charcoal briquettes was sufficient to heat a medium-sized grill to a temperature of around 350-400°F for up to an hour of cooking time.

However, it’s important to note that the amount of charcoal needed can vary depending on the type of charcoal used, the weather conditions, and other factors. Additionally, different cooking methods, such as direct versus indirect heat, may require different amounts of charcoal.

To determine the appropriate amount of charcoal for your grill, it’s best to consult the manufacturer’s instructions or experiment with different amounts until you find the right balance for your needs. As a general rule of thumb, it’s better to start with less charcoal and add more as needed to avoid overheating the grill or wasting charcoal. By using a chimney starter and monitoring the temperature carefully, you can achieve perfectly cooked meats and vegetables with the right amount of charcoal for your grill and cooking needs.

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Hi, I'm Ivy Cronin. I'm an editor at The Disney Chef and I love connecting people with their favorite foods. I've been working in the food industry for over six years now, and before that, I was a housewife. My husband is a chef and we have three children: two sons and one daughter. When we're not busy with work or family life, we travel as much as possible usually to Disney World! My favorite thing about working at The Disney Chef is getting to read all the amazing stories submitted by our readers. It's inspiring to see how many people are inspired by our recipes!


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