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Stupid Barbeque Question

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
So first, know that for the past 10 years I've been living in a downtown Seattle locating with no chance of owning a barbeque. Now, with my recent relocation, I finally can grill in my own back yard again. Needless to say, I'm a little rusty on my charcoal briquette and hardwoods game.

Has anyone placed a few fire-bricks in the barbeque? I was having trouble maintaining a nice medium temp for a whole barbequed chicken, (I ended up finishing it in the oven:mad:) -I was thinking about adding a few bricks to disperse/regulate heat, but will it take too much time and energy to get the bricks hot enough to be helpful?

Any other tips on some slower barbeque techniques on a charcoal grill? I'd like to do a leg of lamb (de-boned and trussed) this weekend and my pride can't let the in-laws see the "family Chef" resort to the oven again. -And I'm not about to buy a gas grill!
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post #2 of 10
I find when I do actual BBQ, the only way i can pull it off is to make small offset batches of coals. so when my first set of coals is getting established I place my meat on the unlit side of the grill and wait and turn and roast. when the coals are steady enough to place the meat directly over the live coals I move meat and start a second set of coals sometimes a third. depends what i am cooking and for how many.

it's a pain in the butt the way I do it, remove meat onto pan, remove hot grill, add wood or coal, place grill and meat back on. makes me wish i had a side loading BBQ and a coal shovel, but I use a 4 dollar yardsale weber ripoff. Also can only use half the grill surface at a time but I get steady heat in between reload times.

Anybody got a better way I would love to hear it......please?
"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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post #3 of 10
What are you cooking on? There are many charcoal grills and some require different tactics. On a Weber kettle I cook chicken indirect with coals on each side (Weber sells charcoal rails for this). I also have the grate with a flip up part on each side so I can add more charcoal as needed. The last large piece of meat I cooked that way was a 15 pound turkey, I had to add coals twice during the cook. You can add a pan of water between the coals to catch drippings and help even out the temps. If you want smoke add a dry wood chunk once in a while but keep in mind your temperature will spike while it burns.
post #4 of 10
>>>Any other tips on some slower barbeque techniques on a charcoal grill?

well, you've hit on the one, and only - in my opinion - advantage to a gas grill.
as long as there's gas in the bottle, a temp can be maintained.

which is no reason to buy one.

how to....

got a chimney?
you can light / get it going charcoal (I use lump) independently of the grill.
some thermometer required.
as it cools, add more lit coals.

with a smidgen of experience one can keep a charcoal griller going at "steady state" over many hours.

the problem de-hors may the experience bit - if you guess wrong on the first (couple) tries you might need the oven.
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
I'm using a weber Knock-off "Meco" 18" square, and about 8" deep with rounded sides.

I am starting my coals in a chimney, I was using a mix of briquettes and natural lump - with the chicken failure I know I just didn't let the coals go long enough before dumping them in the 'que. And it sounds like I shouldn't be afraid to continue adding coals. -I was afraid of it getting too hot for the bird, but I had the opposite problem.
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post #6 of 10
yup. my experience is lump charcoal will maintain a reasonable "consistency" in temp terms for 30-40 minutes.

if you're going longer, start a new chimney of charcoal, dump the hot stuff into the griller.

this does imply taking the cooking thang off the grill, lifting the grates, adding fresh coals, stirring coals around for an even heat.

doing large chunks of meat (aka "leg of . . .") means multiple happenings.

the commercial size/style chimneys are, me finds, a bit large for a "new coal charge" but a two pound coffee can (jeesh, ours is coming in plastic now-a-days....) is a good size for start a new charge.
post #7 of 10
>I know I just didn't let the coals go long enough before dumping them in the 'que.<

If that happens again, don't sweat it. Just don't be in a rush to put the food on the grill.

If the coals are even slightly started, they will continue to form. Wait until all of them are coated with a layer of ash, and you'll be good to go.

Question: Did you fill the chimmney? Mine holds four pounds of charcoal, which certainly should be enough to cook chicken. If you think not, start the chimmney again, and add new coals as needed.

But, frankly, for chicken, burgers, all the "normal" grilling stuff, I have the opposite problem. I finish cooking, and still have a great bed of coals going to waste. :cry:
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks All!
I'll give the leg-o-lamb a shot Saturday!
nel maiale, tutto e buono!
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nel maiale, tutto e buono!
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post #9 of 10
When using lump I just add unlit on top of what is there. Once you get the timing right it will start with little to no temp drop in the grill. I have cooked on one of the square Meco's the indirect fire works well. Start with a good sized fire on both sides (charcoal almost touching the cooking grate), use a disposable foil pan in the center to hold the coals to the sides and to add some heat stability. As side benefit is you can catch the meat juices and use them to make a sauce while the meat is resting.
post #10 of 10
A number of people here have hinted at it, but from what I can see, no one has come out and said it: if you are using lump charcoal you can add it directly to your grill to continue the cooking process. If you are using briquettes you need to start them somewhere else. Briquettes contain chemicals and fillers that will flavor your food if you use them without burning them down first. One of the great reasons to own a chimney starter.
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