5 Reasons Why My Charcoal BBQ is Smoking so Much?

A little smoke is much anticipated from a charcoal grill. However, a constant billowing of thick smoke can be little concerning. It is much more natural for charcoal to smoke when it fits lit, and it should be manageable. The smoke will calm down after a few minutes of burning but if the smoke is getting more and more then there must be wrong with it. 

In this article, you will get the answer to why my charcoal BBQ is smoking so much. With a bunch of solutions that will help you calm down the smoke. 

Why My Charcoal BBQ is Smoking so Much? 

It is quite normal to expect some smoke when you are lighting a charcoal grill, no matter what you do. Smoke is the most natural part of grilling with a charcoal grill. But if the smoke gets out of hand, and becomes excessive then that is something to worry about. 

You must try to find out the reason behind it as it can cause a disaster if not controlled properly. Here are a few reasons that can explain your question of why my charcoal BBQ is smoking so much:

Usage of Fire Starters.

There are multiple ways to light charcoal, each varies in the amount of smoke it produced. Some of the fire starters produce smoke themselves, while others change how the charcoal burns entirely.

 If you use lighter fluid to burn the charcoal, then it will cause more smoke with an unpleasant smell. It is better to use natural fire starters such as newspaper, cardboard, and white paper but do not use an excess of it as well. 

Grease Buildup  

If you have excessive grease on your charcoal grill. Then it can result in more smoke production than normal. The grease buildup when get heated in the grill produce more smoke which fills the grill chamber. Due to this, the grime of the charcoal grill can also get burnt so it is always good to clean the grill after every use to eliminate grease buildup. 

Blocked Airflow 

The grills are designed with different airflows such as top vents or side vents with sliding lids or holes. In this way, you can control the airflow of the grill properly. If the airflow of the grill is blocked or insufficient, then it will cause smoke production. The grill also does not get enough oxygen, so when the fluid is not mixed with oxygen when it is lit, that flame will produce more smoke than heat. 

Bad Cleaning Compounds 

Many people use harsh cleaning compounds which contain toxic substances that can cause more smoke production. More overly, some cleaning chemicals interact with gas flames which can also result in toxic smoke. So, it is important to clean your grill regularly. But make sure that you are not using a compound that is harmful to the grill. 

The charcoal is Damp

When your charcoal is damp, it contains moisture which makes it difficult to light and stay lit. Because of this, the temperature will not be consistent when you will cook the food. The charcoal will go out of work, and when it tries to combust, the charcoal smoke even more.

So, if your charcoal is wet, then it is going to produce more smoke and will not combust properly which will lead to poor cooking. 

Best Solutions to Stop the Excessive Smoking.

Excessive smoke can really become a problem if not sorted out. It can impact both your cooking and health as well. So, when you interact with more smoke than usual, you must look for a solution. Here is a list of the best solutions that can apply to stop or reduce smoke: 

  • Brun only half of the charcoal, do not fill the whole grill =.
  • Use an electric charcoal starter as it will not produce smoke like lighter fluid.
  • You can use lump charcoal as it produces far much less smoke than usual charcoal. 
  • After every use clean your grill to prevent grease buildup and remove any remaining marinate or food. 
  • Check the vents and if blocked, then open the vents to ensure sufficient airflow. 
  • Use mild or organic cleaning compounds to prevent harsh chemicals


How do I stop my charcoal grill from smoking?

A charcoal grill works very differently from a gas grill. The most definite difference is that you have to use charcoal to produce heat and smoke to cook the food while in a gas grill you do not have to do that. Sometimes, the smoke from the charcoal grill can get overloaded. 

So, to stop the charcoal grill from excessively smoking just open the lid of the grill. lower the temperature by either turning the knobs on lower heat or by closing the vents This will help to stop the excessive smoking from the charcoal grill. 

How long should charcoal burn before cooking?

It is the common cooking rule when it comes to grills that you have to preheat. Because the grills need to get hot before any food is added as it will help cook the food much better and more flavorful. 

After you have lightened your charcoal grill, cover it with the lid, and let it burn for at least 15 to 20 minutes. You will know the charcoal is ready when it is ashy and gray. 

Do you wait until charcoal stops smoking?

Ans. Yes, you do wait until the charcoal starts burning before adding the food. You have to first burn the charcoal to an even temperature. When you see the charcoal white, it means it is hot outside but still cold inside. You wait until the charcoal turns gray and charcoal stopped smoking. 

It is important that the charcoal does not smoke before putting in food. Because it indicates that the charcoal is still not prepared to burn and provide heat for cooking. 

How do you burn charcoal without smoking? 

When it comes to charcoal grills, we do love the smoky flavor. However, the smoke can become a problem for you. There is no way to burn charcoal without smoking. You can use some tricks like putting in a few pieces of newspaper or any other paper. 

Fill the chimney with charcoal and light the newspaper as it will help you to create a fire without too much smoke. Never start your charcoal grill in a closed space, as the smoke will not have an outway. So, always do your charcoal grill BBQ outside, in an open space to deal with excessive smoke. 

The Final Takeaway 

Smoke is a natural part of a charcoal grill, so you have expected a little smoke. However, if the smoke gets a little too excessive that you cannot monitor anymore. Then there is a reason that you should look for in order to find the solution. 

There can be multiple reasons why my charcoal BBQ is smoking so much. Such as damped charcoal, blocked airflow, harsh cleaning compounds, grease buildup, or liquid lighter starter. Whatever, the cause is, you must find the right solution to bring down the smoke otherwise it can cause a lot of damage to your grill. 

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