I learned how to grill using a Weber kettle style BBQ. The people who are close to me whose opinions I value taught me how to cook on a Weber. This information is not for people who are advocates for gas grills. Charcoal and lump hardwood coal cooking provide exceptional flavor. Very early I learned how much using lighter fluid taints the flavor of grilled meat. I was introduced to the charcoal chimney and I have never looked back. I have two bottles of lighter fluid I can’t give away. This process is easy. It takes only about 20 minutes to prepare the coals to the point you are ready to cook. For a step by step video watch our video.
Step 1: Required Items
Assemble the items you will need at the beginning of this process. This will reduce unneeded trips to the kitchen or the garage. This will eliminate leaving an open flame unattended while prepping the coals. You need to have:
o Charcoal BBQ grill
o Chimney Chimney
o Tender, (I use paper towels, you can use newspaper)
o Long stem lighter
o BBQ Utensils
o Charcoal briquettes or lump hardwood coal
o Non-stick cooking spray
o Leather gloves
Step 2: Preparing the Chimney
I keep a small table next to my Weber for the incidental items that I use while cooking. On that table I place the chimney. I place it upside down (Shallow side up). I take my tender, which in this case are around 5 sheets of paper towels. I twist the paper towels like a cord. I fashion the cord into a pretzel shape and place it in the chimney. At that point I fill the chimney over and expose the deep section. I fill the space with Charcoal until it is flush with the top.
Step 3: Grill Preparation
Before you light any fire you need to prepare the coal deck of the grill. Remove the top grill that will be use as a cooking surface and set it aside. Place the chimney on the lower grill at the bottom of the Weber. If you are in a location exposed to wind try to move your grill to a place where the wind can be deflected. This will prevent embers from floating away and starting unintended fires. Using your long stem BBQ lighter begin to light the paper towels on fire. Using the various ventilation holes on the side of the chimney work the lighter around to create an even flame to start the coals.
Step 4: Check your coals
As the flames move through the paper you will notice the chimney will begin to smoke quite a bit. This is normal. It will take 5-10 minutes to develop red coal. In daylight it is difficult to see the flames. I carefully look over the top to see hot spots. I hunch over and look across the top to look for flames. When you can easily see flames the coals are ready to spread.
Step 5: Spreading the coals
This is definitely the most dangerous part of the process. If you think you need gloves this would be the time to put them on. Making sure there is no one close to you grab the handle of the chimney and lift it slowly. Begin to spill the coal from the chimney. Extremely hot flames will pour from each hole of the chimney. Make sure as you spread the coals your hand and wrist are out of the way. As you spread them make 2 mounds. Place one mound on each side of the BBQ. This will create a hot zone on each side to sear meat and an even cooking area in the middle for slower cooking.
Step 6: Place the grill
Place the grill back on the Weber. Place the lid over the kettle and let it heat up. This will make it easier to use a wire brush to remove debris from the cooking surface. After the grill has heated up brush the grill removing all the debris down to clean metal. Using thongs remove the grill from the flames. Spray the surface of the cooking surface with the non-stick spray. I don’t suggest doing that over the open flame. Place the cooking surface back on the Weber and you are ready to cook.