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

How to Grill over Direct Heat on your Charcoal Grill


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.