The Charcoal Grill Not Getting Hot Enough (Causes + Solutions)

You’ve just finished up a long day of work and it’s finally time to fire up the grill for dinner. But when you go to light it, you realize that the charcoal isn’t getting hot enough to cook your food.

When you’re starving after a long day, not being able to cook your food on the grill is extremely frustrating. 

The bad news is that all that food you were planning on cooking will turn out to be a disappointment. Charcoal grills may not get hot enough for a variety of reasons.

In this post, we’ll go over some of the most common causes and how to fix them. We’ll share some tips for getting your charcoal grill up to temperature to cook food properly. Stay tuned!

What Are the Causes Of a Charcoal Grill Not Getting Hot Enough?

There are a couple of different reasons that your charcoal grill might not be getting hot enough. The most common causes are:

1. The Grill Is Covered

If grill is covered so its getting hot
If the grill is covered so it’s getting hot

You will not be able to burn charcoal if your grill is covered, as it traps in the heat and prevents oxygen from reaching the charcoal.

2. The Grill Isn’t Preheated

Preheating your grill will prevent the charcoal from getting hot enough before you start cooking.

3. Not Enough Airflow

One of the most common reasons for a charcoal grill not getting hot enough is that there’s not enough airflow.

If the coals don’t have enough oxygen, they’ll struggle to light and stay lit. The charcoal will smoke instead of burn.

This can be caused by the vents being blocked or covered. If there’s too much airflow, the charcoal will burn too quickly and won’t have a chance to get hot enough.

4. Too Much Water

If you’ve just added fresh coals to your grill, they might not be getting hot enough because there’s too much water in them.

When you add fresh coals to your grill, make sure to let them sit for a few minutes before cooking on them. This will give the water time to evaporate and the coals will be ready to use.

5. Old or Wet Charcoal

Another possibility is that you’re using old or wet charcoal. If your charcoal is old, it might not light as quickly or burn hot. Damp charcoal can also be difficult to light and smoke instead of burning hot. 

6. Not Enough Coals

Make sure to use a good amount of charcoal
Make sure to use a good amount of charcoal

If you’re not using enough coals, they won’t be able to generate enough heat to cook your food correctly.

Make sure to use a good amount of charcoal so that the coals are close together and touching. This will help them stay lit and burn hot.

7. The Grill is Dirty

You may not be able to get your charcoal hot enough if your grill is dirty.

How Can I Fix a Charcoal Grill Not Getting Hot Enough?

If your charcoal grill isn’t getting hot enough, there are a few things you can do to try to fix the problem.

1. Check the vents

The first thing you should do is make sure that the vents on your grill are clear and open to allow the heat to escape. If there is any debris blocking the vents, remove it so that the air can flow freely.

2. Use high-quality charcoal

Low-quality charcoal is another reason for a cold grill. If you’re using charcoal that’s old or of poor quality, it will be harder to light and maintain a consistent temperature. To avoid this, make sure to use high-quality charcoal that’s designed for grilling

If you’re using old charcoal, it might not be as effective as it once was. Try using fresh charcoal to see if that makes a difference.

3. Arrange charcoal properly

Arrange the coals in a pyramid or teepee shape. Once the coals are arranged properly, the fire will be able to get enough oxygen and will be able to generate enough heat.

4. Preheat the grill

Prior to cooking, it’s important to preheat your grill. This will help ensure that the charcoal is fully lit and at its optimal temperature. To preheat your grill, simply light the charcoal and let it burn for 15-20 minutes before adding your food.

5. Use enough coals

Charcoal must be used in sufficient quantities. If you’re using too little, it will be difficult to get the grill hot enough.

And also try using lighter fluid to help get the fire started. Try adding more charcoal to your grill if it is still not getting hot enough.

This will give you a hotter fire and help you reach your desired temperature. Just be sure to add the charcoal gradually so you don’t overwhelm the fire and cause it to extinguish.

6. Clean the grill

The airflow can be obstructed if your grill is dirty, preventing the charcoal from getting hot enough. Before using your grill, clean it thoroughly.

7. Use a chimney starter

If you’re having trouble getting your charcoal to light, try using a chimney starter. This device will help you get a strong, hot fire going quickly and easily. Simply place your charcoal in the chimney, light it from the bottom, and wait for the coals to turn white before cooking.

8. Check for leaks:

The fire may not be getting enough oxygen if your grill leaks gas or smoke. This can be caused by a number of things, including a dirty grill, a blocked vent, or a faulty seal. To fix this, simply clean your grill and check the vents to ensure they’re clear. You may also need to replace the seal on your grill.

9. Use a windscreen

It can be difficult to maintain a consistent temperature when cooking in windy conditions. To fix this, try using a windscreen. This will help block the wind and allow you to better control the temperature of your grill.

10. Move the grill to a sheltered location

Moving your grill to more locations may help if you still have trouble with windy conditions. This will help block the wind and make it easier to regulate the temperature.

11. Use indirect heat

Try indirect heat if you’re having trouble getting your grill hot enough. This will help you avoid hotspots and uneven cooking. To use indirect heat, simply place your food to the side of the charcoal instead of directly over it. You’ll need to experiment to find the perfect spot for your grill, but this method can help you evenly cook your food.

12. Add a heat diffuser

If you’re still having trouble with uneven cooking, try adding a heat diffuser. This will help distribute the heat more evenly and prevent hotspots. There are many different types of heat diffusers available, so be sure to find one that’s designed for use with your grill.

13. Use the two-zone method

Using a two-zone method can help you get your grill hot enough. This will help you cook your food more evenly and prevent hotspots.

To use this method, simply divide your charcoal into two piles. Cook your food on one side of the grill over indirect heat, and then move it to the other side to finish cooking over direct heat.

14. Avoid opening the lid too often

You can keep your grill hot by avoiding opening the lid too often. Every time you open the lid, you lose heat, which can make it difficult to keep the temperature constant. Only open the lid when you need to, and be sure to close it quickly to keep the heat in.

Tips For Getting Your Charcoal Grill Up To Temperature

1. Use a chimney starter to light your charcoal, this will also help ensure that the charcoal lights evenly.

2. Before adding any food to the grill, let the charcoal burn for about 15 minutes. This will help the charcoal reach its optimal cooking temperature.

3. If you find that your charcoal is not reaching the optimal cooking temperature, you can try adding more charcoal to the grill. Just be sure to let the new charcoal burn for a few minutes before adding any food to the grill.

4. Use quality charcoal. Lump charcoal burns hotter and cleaner than briquettes, so it’s the better choice for searing.

5. Preheat the grill. Get your charcoal going before you begin cooking, and let it burn until it’s covered with white ash. This means it’s hot enough to sear.

6. Open the vents on the grill to ensure proper airflow.

7. It is important not to overcrowd the grill. If you do, the temperature will drop and the sear will not take place.

8. Use a higher heat setting. If your grill has temperature control, turn it up to high. This will help you get those high temps you need for searing.

9. Put the lid on the grill once you have added your food. This will help to trap the heat and create an oven-like environment.

10. Start cooking!


To conclude, the charcoal grill not getting hot enough could be due to a number of reasons. This is a common problem that can be easily fixed. 

There are several things you can do to get your charcoal grill up to the right temperature for cooking. We have outlined some potential causes and solutions in this blog post. 

We hope this article has helped you troubleshoot the problem and get your grill back up and running! Thanks for reading.


Can you add more charcoal while cooking?

Yes, you can add more charcoal while cooking. Just be sure to keep an eye on the temperature and adjust as needed. Just be sure to use tongs to avoid getting burned.

How long should coals burn before cooking?

It typically takes 30 to 45 minutes for coals to reach cooking temperature. Once they’re ashed over and glowing red, you’re ready to cook.

How much charcoal do you put in a grill?

The amount of charcoal you’ll need for your grill will depend on the size of your grill and how hot you want the fire to be. For a small grill, you’ll need about 30 briquettes, and for a large grill, you’ll need about 60 briquettes. If you want a hot fire, use more briquettes, and if you want a low fire, use fewer briquettes.

How do you light a charcoal grill?

There are several ways to light a charcoal grill. The most common is to use a chimney starter. To use a chimney starter, place the charcoal in the chamber of the starter and light the newspaper underneath. The charcoal will be ready to use in about 15 minutes.