Grill the Good Stuff
for Your Late Summer Bash

Burgers and dogs may be staples of griling season, but when summer starts winding down, it’s time to elevate your cookout menu. These recipes showcase high-quality meats that are a cut above your average grilling fare.

  1. BBQ Beef Brisket

    BBQ Beef Brisket

    Heat management is key for creating this iconic Texas Classic.
    See Recipe

  2. Grilled Tomahawk Ribeyes

    Grilled Tomahawk Ribeyes

    Steak dry rub and shallot butter take these chops over the top.
    See Recipe

  3. Grilled Ahi Tuna Steak with Jalapeño Pineapple Salsa

    Grilled Ahi Tuna Steak with Jalapeño Pineapple Salsa

    A sweet, savory, tangy, peppery, seafood-lover’s dream.
    See Recipe

  4. Pork Chops with Coffee Dry Rub

    Pork Chops with Coffee Dry Rub

    Coffee adds an unexpectedly sweet & smoky note to these chops.
    See Recipe

  5. Smoked Moroccan Lamb Ribs

    Smoked Moroccan Lamb Ribs

    You’ll have to raid the spice rack to tackle this exotic rib recipe.
    See Recipe


How to: real wood flavor

When we think smoke flavor, we immediately think of the BBQ classics ribs, brisket and pork shoulder cooked over low temperatures.

  1. But you can easily add smoke flavor to just about anything you grill, even if you only are planning for a quick cook. Burgers, fish, vegetables, even chicken breasts benefit from a good dose of smoke. Best of all, that smoky flavor is not difficult to achieve.

  2. Wood flavor profiles

    Whereas all kinds of hardwood, fruit, and even citrus woods can be used for smoking, three flavors are most common in the barbecue world: hickory, mesquite and fruitwood.

  3. Hickory


    Historically speaking, this is the wood of choice for much of Southern barbecue. Hickory imparts a rich, slightly sweet flavor that pairs perfectly with the staple of the South: pork. It’s paired with traditional favorites like ribs, pork shoulder, hams, and pork chops. But it also goes great with chicken and beef.

  4. Mesquite


    The pecan may be the official tree of Texas, but mesquite is the official smoke of its pitmasters. Mesquite wood provides a strong flavor that pairs wonderfully with the richness of Texas beef and spicy rubs and sauces.

  5. Apple Wood


    Fruitwood imparts a lighter, slightly fruitier but still smoky taste. It’s much more subtle than the bold flavors of hickory and mesquite. Apple is very popular, followed by the wood of stone fruits like cherry and peach. People even smoke with citrus woods. The lighter smoke flavor makes fruitwood ideal for more delicate meats like poultry and seafood.

  6. Ways to Add Smoke

    From packages of Kingsford® wood chips to plain old hunks of dried wood, there are a number of great ways to add wood flavor to your food.

    How to use chips

    Briquets with wood

    The easiest way to add a hint of smoke to any food is by using Kingsford® Briquets with wood. These briquets include real, un-charred wood pieces pressed into each briquet, so there’s no need to add extra chips or chunks. Choose from three flavors—hickory, mesquite, or apple. These light the same way as Kingsford® Original Charcoal. Just fire up, smell the smoke, and start cooking.

  7. Wood Chips smoking

    Wood chips

    One common way to add smoke is by adding wood chips to a bed of already-lit Kingsford® Original Charcoal or Kingsford® Match Light® Charcoal. Just and add the desired flavor of wood chips to the top of your already-lit coals. With wood chips, such as Kingsford® Wood Chips with Mesquite, it’s important to soak the chips in water for 30 minutes to prevent the chips from burning up too quickly, so they produce more smoke for a longer period of time.

  8. Wood Chunks


    Larger wood chunks that burn slowly are a favorite of many pitmasters. Chunks work perfectly when combined with Kingsford® Charcoal to provide plenty of smoke for long cooks. Just add the wood chunks to hot coals. Wood chunks typically are not soaked before using. However, unsoaked chunks can burn, so watch the grill temperature after adding.

real wood flavor

Kingsford® Original – fish

For perfect seafood meals, start with the freshest fish possible and the best charcoal around — Kingsford® Original Charcoal. kfd-sidebar-products-originalcharcoal1

How to: arrange your coals with the Coal Configurator

Think of this as your charcoal reference manual — how much to use, heat ranges, and a simple visual guide to popular charcoal arrangements.

How much charcoal should I use?


The answer to this lies in what you are cooking, how much you are cooking and how hot you want the grill.

If you need high heat, you’ll want a full chimney. If you want lower heat, then there’s no need to fill the chimney all the way and wait for the heat of all those coals to dissipate. Below are some guidelines. These numbers are based on the capacity of a standard charcoal chimney, available at most hardware stores, which holds about 100 briquets.

  • High heat 450°F to 550°F 1 full chimney
  • Medium heat 350°F to 450°F ½ to ¾ full chimney
  • Low heat 250°F to 350°F ¼ full chimney
Keep in mind, maximum temperature and the length of the cook depend on how you spread out the coals. If you spread the lit coals in a thin layer across a larger area, temperatures will be lower and the heat will dissipate faster. If your layer is deeper and the coals are more concentrated, temperatures will be higher and stay hot longer.

Exactly how hot are the coals?

kfd-coalconfigurator-Coal_Configurator_1_0135 The most accurate way to gauge temperature is with a thermometer. However, if your cooker does not have one built in, you can use the hand test. Simply hold the palm of your hand about 5 to 6 inches above the grill grate. Leave it there until you have to pull it away. The number of seconds you can keep your hand there gives you an indication of how hot the coals are at the grate.
  • High heat 450°F to 550°F 2 to 4 seconds
  • Medium heat 350°F to 450°F 5 to 6 seconds
  • Low heat 250°F to 350°F 8 to 10 seconds

What is the best way to arrange the coals for cooking?

The answer depends on what you’re cooking. See below for basic and more advanced configurations.

Direct-heat grilling

Coals are spread out in a single layer across the bottom cooking grate. Ideal for high-heat cooking and thin cuts of meat. Unless you absolutely need the entire grill space, it’s still best to leave a void zone. Read more about direct-heat grilling
  • High-heat 450°F to 550°F
  • Coals needed: 1 whole chimney, about 100 briquets

The two-zone fire

Your go-to configuration for almost everything. Coals spread out over half the grill, leaving the other half empty. Gives you all the advantages of direct heat for searing and the flexibility of indirect heat for cooking slowly or managing flare-ups. Ideal for steaks, chops, bone-in and boneless chicken cuts, and seafood. Read more about the two-zone fire.
  • High-heat 450°F to 550°F
  • Medium-heat 350°F to 450°F
  • Coals needed: ½ to 1 whole chimney, about 50–100 briquets

Two-zone fire: parallel configuration

Coals spread along either side of the grill, with an empty space down the center. Ideal for smoking and low-temperature cooking of larger roasts, whole chickens and turkeys. Read more about the parallel configuration.
  • Low-heat 250°F to 350°F
  • Coals needed: 1 whole chimney to start, about 100 briquets. Additional coals later.

The charcoal snake

Unlit coals and smoke wood are arranged in a circle around the inside edge of your grill. A few lit coals are added to one end of the snake, which burns slowly over several hours. Read more about the charcoal snake.
  • Low-heat smoking 225°F to 250°F
  • Coals needed: 100 unlit coals, six to eight lit coals to start the snake. Additional coals later.


Smoking is a low and slow cooking method where meats are cooked over indirect heat at low temperatures for hours at a time. Hardwood chunks or chips of wood soaked in water are added to lend smoke aromas and flavors to the meats. There are several different types of smokers available, but all use indirect heat. Read more about smoking techniques.
  • Low-heat smoking 225°F to 250°F
  • Coals needed: Fill your charcoal bed with unlit coals, and add only a few lit coals to start the process.