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How to Grill over Direct Heat on your Charcoal Grill

Easy steps to set-up your charcoal grill for food that takes less than 20 minutes to cook.

There are two ways to set up your grill for grilling- over direct and over indirect heat. For foods that takes under 20 minutes (think burgers, steaks, fish, chicken breast) you will use a method called direct heat. The direct method means that food is cooked directly over the prepared coals.

So how do you set up your grill for direct cooking?

  • Open the lid and place it on the rim of the grill using the hook inside the lid or in the Tuck-Away lid holder depending on the grill model.
  • Remove the cooking grate and set aside.
  • Open the bottom vent using the handle underneath the bowl.
  • Place two lighter cubes on the charcoal grate and then place a Chimney Starter over the lighter cubes.
  • If you do not have lighter cubes, soak some newspaper with olive oil, wad it up and place under the chimney starter and ignite though the holes in the bottom.
  • Fill the upper chamber of the Chimney Starter with briquettes, lift up the Chimney Starter, and light the cubes or newspaper.
  • Weber briquettes will take 15 to 20 minutes to light fully.
  • When the charcoal is lightly coated all over with white ash, it is ready to go.
  • Put on two protective barbecue mitts and carefully empty the coals onto the charcoal grate.
  • Spread the coals, using a charcoal rake, in a tightly packed, single layer across one-half to two-thirds of the charcoal grate.
  • Put the cooking grate in place, close the lid, open the top vent, and leave all the vents open.
  • Let the cooking grate preheat for 15 minutes.
  • Brush the cooking grates with a stainless steel grill brush to remove any leftover debris.
  • Place food on the cooking grate.
  •  Close the lid of the grill and lift it only to turn food or to test for doneness at the end of the recommended cooking time.