wikiHow is where trusted research and expert knowledge come together. A smaller grill like a Weber Smokey Joe would scorch your steaks into a pile of black ash if you use a 100% filled charcoal chimney, so you need to factor that in as well. Don’t open the lid too often to check on your food, since this will cause heat to escape. Keeping your charcoal grill hot involves mastering air ventilation inside the grill chamber, while also making use of 2-zone cooking, constant ash disposal, and use of proper tools like air probe thermometers and chimney starters. They’re not just a chimney or exhaust for heat to escape, but instead a way for you to directly control the temperature in your grill. Josh @Tim For indirect grilling, if you place the food and the vent on the cool side of the grill, the smoke will carry across the food before exiting the grill. The first thing to say is that this strictly for charcoal grills. In short, this means more heat. Even the largest pieces of food can be cooked just the way you like, because you control the fire temperature by opening and closing the top and bottom vents. For tips on how to check the temperature of your food, keep reading! In fact, if you learn to master your vents properly, you can even turn your grill into a smoker. Charcoal grills aren’t as easy to use as gas grills, but they give food even more flavor. It will affect not only the airflow through your vents, but if your grill surface is exposed at any point then it can be vulnerable to changes in wind speed and direction. Avoid this problem by using a stone or brick made grill. You can find these wherever grilling supplies are sold. Opening the dampers makes the coals burn hotter since they receive more oxygen. Oxygen is what feeds your charcoal – too much and it will flare up, too little and it will extinguish. Wait until the charcoal has cooled, lift out the ash dump/fire grate and pour out the ashes. Avoid the temptation to use cheap briquettes, and instead get good quality lump charcoal. You can also add wood chips to the coals before cooking your food for a smoky flavor. Some people recommend cleaning your grill with a stiff wire brush before heating it. The last is to close them completely in order to allow the heat to die out. This will limit the flow of oxygen without completely stopping it, therefore bringing down your grill’s internal temperature slightly. When the intake damper is closed, air cannot enter the grill. These two sets of vents work together by air flowing in through the bottom set, called the intake damper, and then out through the top set, called the exhaust damper. This takes practice and patience, but you will quickly learn how your grill reacts to changes in damper setting. For tips on how to check the temperature of your food, keep reading! A charcoal chimney is basically a metal cylinder with a grate at the bottom, holes in the side, and a handle on the side. {"smallUrl":"https:\/\/www.wikihow.com\/images\/thumb\/b\/b5\/Use-a-Charcoal-Grill-Step-1.jpg\/v4-460px-Use-a-Charcoal-Grill-Step-1.jpg","bigUrl":"\/images\/thumb\/b\/b5\/Use-a-Charcoal-Grill-Step-1.jpg\/aid9470068-v4-728px-Use-a-Charcoal-Grill-Step-1.jpg","smallWidth":460,"smallHeight":259,"bigWidth":"728","bigHeight":"410","licensing":"