SHOULD I OPEN OR CLOSE MY GRILL LID WHEN STARTING CHARCOAL? The lid should be open while you arrange and light your charcoal. Once the coals are well-lit, close the lid. Most charcoal grills are hotter right after lighting.
When you cook with the grill open, you'll more effectively get a crispy, perfect-Maillard-reaction caramelization on the outside of the meat without overcooking the center. So, they can hold up to the heat chamber the lid creates, and in fact, the lid will help thicker cuts of meat or vegetables cook more evenly.
Opening the lid feeds extra oxygen to the coals, which causes them to burn even hotter and ups the potential for burning food. Follow this tip: Open the lid to flip food and check its progress, but keep the lid closed as much as possible.