Best charcoal Grill Recipes
The key to success in any grilling project is control over time and temp. The best way is a 2-zone setup. This gives you a hot direct heat zone when you need to brown the surface, and a cooler indirect zone where the food can cook by convection airflow when you want to gently and evenly warm the interior of the food.
Water pans are a great addition to the cooking environment. They absorb heat and radiate it back evenly mitigating temperature fluctuations, and they add humidity to the air helping to reduce evaporation from the food. The moisture also mixes with the smoke and combustion gases to create wonderful bacony flavors.
Hardwood or fruitwood adds smoky flavor and complexity. But it is easy to ruin food with too much wood. Your exact setup may be different than mine if you don't have a Weber Kettle, but if you follow the concepts, killer barbecue and grilling are in your future. Click here for more info about meat science. Click here for more about the thermodynamics of cooking.
Now this is important: Every grill design is different. The three key temps you need to master are 225°F, 325°F, and Warp 10 (pedal to the metal). The first thing to do is to test and calibrate your grill without food so you can see how it performs. Read this article about calibration and dry runs. Once you have your grill figgered out, it will take only a few minutes to set up the next time. It is essential, required, necessary, to have a good digital thermometer since most bi-metal dial grill thermometers are next to worthless. They can be off by 50°F! You can't cook unless you know your oven's temp!
There are several ways to start a charcoal fire, but my favorite is with a chimney (click the link for more on the subject). It is a tube with an upper compartment and a lower compartment. Put newspaper in the lower compartment, charcoal in the upper compartment, light the paper, and in about 15 minutes you have a measured quantity of charcoal ready to go and if you do it the same way every time you can get pretty consistent. Consistency is important!
Weber and other grill manufacturers recommend a method of banking the coals on two sides with a pan of water in the center, underneath the food (shown at left). This concept is called 2-zone cooking and it is an essential concept in good outdoor cooking. But there is a better way that gives you more indirect cooking area and won't get the meat too hot on the edges.