How to Convert a Gas BBQ to Charcoal

Are you tired of cooking with gas? Does the idea of firing up a charcoal BBQ have your mouth watering for some delicious smoked flavour? Converting a gas bbq to charcoal doesn’t have to be hard or expensive. With just four easy steps, you can convert that boring old grill into an exciting outdoor feast station. So let’s get started and learn how to convert a gas bbq to charcoal. We’ll cover all the necessary materials, preparation instructions, installing the grate and finally lighting it up so you can start enjoying that smoky goodness in no time.

Table of Contents:

Gather the Necessary Materials

When converting a gas BBQ into a charcoal one, there are several materials that you will need to gather in order to complete the process. The most important item is the charcoal grate, which sits on top of your existing burner and holds the charcoal briquettes. This allows for even heat distribution throughout the grill and helps prevent flare-ups from occurring.

Gas BBQ in the backyard

You’ll also need some charcoal briquettes, which provide fuel for your fire. Charcoal briquettes come in different sizes and shapes, so make sure you get ones that fit properly inside your grill’s grates. You may also want to consider using lump wood charcoal as an alternative fuel source; it burns hotter than traditional briquettes but requires more frequent refuelling due to its shorter burn time.

Finally, you’ll need some kind of fire starter, such as lighter fluid or paraffin wax cubes. These items help ignite the coals quickly without having to use matches or lighters directly on them (which can be dangerous). Make sure whatever product you choose is specifically designed for outdoor use only.

Once all these materials have been gathered, it is time to start installing your new charcoal grate onto your existing BBQ burner.

Gathering the right materials is key to converting your gas BBQ to charcoal, so make sure you have everything you need before starting. Now let’s move on to preparing the BBQ for conversion.

Prepare the BBQ

Preparing a gas BBQ for conversion to charcoal can be an intimidating task, but it doesn’t have to be. Before you get started, make sure you have all the necessary materials on hand: gloves, protective eyewear, and a wire brush or other cleaning tool.

Removing Components

The first step is to remove any existing grates or other components that are not necessary for a charcoal bbq. This includes removing the burners and burner covers from your grill if applicable. Be careful when handling these parts as they may contain sharp edges that could cause injury if handled improperly.


Once all unnecessary components are removed, it’s time to clean the inside of your grill thoroughly with soapy water and a wire brush or other cleaning tool. Make sure to scrub away any grease build-up in order to ensure proper airflow once the charcoal is added later on in the process.

Checking For Leaks

After everything has been cleaned up properly, check for leaks by spraying some soapy water around the seams of your grill where two pieces meet (e.g., lid/body). If bubbles form, then there is likely an air leak which needs addressing before continuing further with this project.

Now that everything has been prepped correctly, it’s time to install your new charcoal grate into place. This will allow hot air from below the fire to circulate around whatever food you’re cooking above on top of the grate. Depending on what type of grate you’ve purchased, use either screws or bolts and nuts provided with it in order to secure it firmly in place within your BBQ body cavity area before moving on to lighting and cooking.

Once the BBQ is prepped and ready to go, it’s time to install the charcoal grate and begin converting your gas bbq to a charcoal one.

Key Takeaway: Before converting a gas BBQ to charcoal, make sure to: 1) remove unnecessary components; 2) clean the grill thoroughly; 3) check for leaks; and 4) install the new charcoal grate.

Install Charcoal Grate

Installing a charcoal grate in your gas BBQ is an important step to ensure that you get the most out of your cooking experience. Here are some tips on how to properly install it:

1. Measure the Grill Opening

Before installing the charcoal grate, measure the opening of your grill and make sure that it will fit correctly. This will help prevent any potential problems down the line.

2. Clean Out Old Charcoal Grate

If you’re replacing an old charcoal grate, make sure to clean out all of the debris from inside before proceeding with the installation. This will ensure that everything fits snugly and securely when you’re done.

3. Place Charcoal Grate Inside Grill

Once you have measured and cleaned out any debris, place the new charcoal grate inside of your grill carefully, making sure not to damage or bend it in any way, as this could affect its performance later on down the road.

4. Secure With Bolts/Screws

After placing it inside, secure it with bolts or screws depending on what type of fastener was included with your purchase (make sure they are tightened properly). Doing so ensures that there won’t be any movement once lit up which can cause flare-ups during cooking time if not secured correctly.

Lastly, test for fit by turning on low heat for a few minutes, then turn it off again and check for proper flame spread across the entire surface area. This should give you confidence in knowing that everything is installed correctly before firing up your high-heat grilling session.

Key Takeaway: Installing a charcoal grate in your gas BBQ is an important step to ensure that you get the most out of your cooking experience. Make sure to measure the grill opening, clean any debris, place and secure the new charcoal grate properly and test for fit before firing up.

Lighting and Cooking

To light the charcoal briquettes, you will need to use fire starters. Fire starters are available in most home and garden stores or online retailers. They come in various shapes and sizes, so make sure to get one that is appropriate for your BBQ size. Once you have your fire starter, place it on top of the charcoal briquettes in an even layer. Light the fire starter using a match or lighter, then wait for the coals to turn white before adding more fuel if needed.

converted charcoal bbq

When cooking with a charcoal bbq, it’s important to maintain an even temperature throughout the cooking process. To do this, adjust air flow by opening or closing vents as necessary; open them when you want more heat and close them when you want less heat. Additionally, move coals around periodically while grilling to ensure they burn evenly across all areas of your grill surface area – this helps keep temperatures consistent throughout your cook time.

For larger cuts of meat, such as steaks or roasts that require longer cooking times at lower temperatures (200-250 degrees Fahrenheit), try using fewer coals than normal. Spread them out into two piles instead of one large pile and cover them with aluminium foil before placing food over top of them on the grill grate. This will help create indirect heat, which is better suited for slow cooked meats like these types.

Finally, be sure not to overcrowd your grill, as this can lead to uneven cooking temperatures due to a lack of airflow between pieces of food being cooked simultaneously on different parts of the grate surface area. For best results, always leave some space between each piece so that hot air can circulate freely around each item being grilled; this ensures everything cooks evenly without burning too quickly.

Key Takeaway: When converting a gas bbq to charcoal, it’s important to adjust air flow by opening or closing vents as needed and moving coals around periodically while grilling for even temperatures. Additionally, use fewer coals than normal for larger cuts of meat and don’t overcrowd the grill.

FAQs in Relation to How to Convert a Gas Bbq to Charcoal

Can I convert a gas BBQ to charcoal?

Yes, it is possible to convert a gas BBQ to charcoal. The process involves removing the gas components and replacing them with charcoal-compatible parts. Depending on the model of your BBQ, you may need additional tools or supplies such as grates, air dampers, and ash pans. It’s important to read up on how to properly install these components before attempting the conversion. Additionally, make sure that any modifications are in line with safety regulations for your area. With some research and preparation, you can successfully convert your gas BBQ into a charcoal one.

How do you make a gas BBQ taste like charcoal?

To make a gas BBQ taste like charcoal, you need to use the right type of wood chips. The best types are hickory, mesquite or applewood. Start by soaking your wood chips in water for at least 30 minutes before adding them to the hot coals. This will help create more smoke and give your food that smoky flavour. Once they’re added, keep an eye on them, as they can burn quickly if left unattended. You may also want to try using a smoker box which helps contain the smoke and gives it more time to infuse into your food for that delicious charred flavour.


Converting a gas BBQ to charcoal is not as difficult as it may seem. With the right materials and some basic knowledge, you can easily convert your gas BBQ into a charcoal one in no time. The process of gathering the necessary materials, preparing the BBQ, installing the charcoal grate and lighting and cooking will ensure that you have a delicious meal cooked on your new charcoal BBQ. So go ahead and get started with converting your gas bbq to charcoal today.

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