Mesquite Charcoal Fireworks Warning

Mesquite Charcoal Fireworks Warning
Photo by Robb Walsh

To use mesquite in the grill, I usually light some charcoal briquettes and add mesquite wood after a while. But I recently saw 20-pound bags of mesquite lump charcoal on sale at HEB for 12 bucks each. Starting the fire with mesquite charcoal and then adding mesquite wood seemed like an even better idea. So I bought a bag. When I got home, I loaded up my chimney starter and got ready to grill.

A couple of weeks ago, I burned the bottom of my foot when I stepped on a hot coal while grilling barefoot. This has happened so many times before, I promised myself to always wear shoes while grilling. So when I went outside to check on the new mesquite charcoal, I slipped on some loafers without socks.

The flames were shooting up over the charcoal, which meant it was time to dump them into the grill. When I picked the coals up, they settled a little and then something happened that I wasn't ready for. It sounded like somebody put a couple of firecrackers in the chimney--the charcoal exploded in loud pops and little pieces of the hot coals went whizzing around all over the place.

As I fumbled with the grate I had to lift up to put the coals in the grill, I suddenly realized that a hot coal had fallen into my sockless shoe and was currently burning the holy living shit out of my foot. Unable to stop what I was doing, I continued to pour the hot coals into the grill while screaming and trying to shake my shoe off at the same time. It was quite the little dance number.

My advice: Beware of fireworks displays when using mesquite lump charcoal. And wear fireproof clothing while grilling.

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