IP's can't miss grilling tips: Two-Zone Kettle Grilling
I'm a grilling/BBQ fanatic. Like grilling in the snow crazy. I have a beat to crap Weber One-Touch (70-something dollars at lowes; a steal. Absolute steal. If you're not using one, it is an almost certainty that unless you are some crazy customizer who fabricated you own setup, in which case I bow my head to you and respect the passion, you're using the wrong grill.
The proper way to charcoal grill is not to put a pile in the middle, spray lighter fluid on it, and then spread it out evenly in a uniform layer. I know this makes a ton of sense to do, but its wrong.
The proper way is to buy a $15 dollar charcoal chimney from a hardware store, put newspaper in the bottom compartment (I like to rub a little veg oil on one of the pieces to accelerate the process a little. You don't need much, a tablespoon or less), flip it over so the newspaper is on the bottom (placing it on the grill grate where the charcoal will eventually go) , and loading the top with kingsford charcoal briquettes. You can buy other charcoal, but you shouldn't buy cheaper charcoal. Kingsford burns long and even, and is available anywhere. You light the news paper and screw around doing something else for 20 minutes or so. You know it's ready when the top layer of charcoal has some hot grey patches, but isn't totally grey.
You then figure out which direction the wind is blowing from, and picture your kettle like a pie cut in half. You then dump your now ready charcoal all into whichever side of the kettle the wind is blowing from, leaving the other side of the kettle barren.
Put the cooking grill on the rack above the charcoal, and position the top so that the air holds are positioned opposite the side the charcoal is on. This creates a smoke/heat tunnel that translates beautifully from one side to the other.
You now have a two-zone grill. If you want to have my theory proven to you, make chicken thighs (bone-in). Paint each side of the thigh with veggie oil, season with salt and pepper, put them skin side down on the back-side of the grill (the side without the charcoal on it), and put the top on. Leave it alone for 30 minutes. After a half an hour, come back, slather that piece of dead poultry with your favorite BBQ sauce, put them skin side up now, then put the top back on and give it 10 more minutes. After 10 minutes, slather again, keeping skin side up. 10 more minutes, then they're done.
You now have the most perfectly cooked chicken thighs you've ever tasted.
I am obsessive about very few things; grilling, excellent beers, the celtics, great fantasy novels, good pop-culture, and great video games.