There's nothing like the smell of a barbecue to whet the appetite. Palatine, Illinois-based Weber-Stephen Products manufactures many of the grills found in backyards in the U.S. and around the world. Weber recommends two approaches to barbecuing: the indirect method or the direct method. The indirect method uses equal amounts of briquettes on both sides of the barbecue kettle to cook meats like roasts, hams or whole birds as in a convection oven, while in the direct method, the barbecue enthusiast places steaks, burgers, chops or other cuts of meat needing 25 minutes or less of cooking directly over the coals. Gas grillers can also use the indirect or direct method.
Place equal amounts of charcoal on both sides of the kettle -- as close to the edge as possible. You'll be placing the dripping pan in the middle of the lower grate.
Light the briquettes and leave the lid off. Wait until the briquettes have a light coating of grey ash -- at least 25 or 30 minutes. If one side seems to be outpacing the other in turning grey, use barbecue tongs to move some of the briquettes from one side to the other to even out their progress.
Put a dripping pan in the centre of the lower grate.
Install the top grate with the handles positioned over the charcoal.
Place the food directly over the dripping pan. Weber suggests putting a bit of water in the pan to keep drippings from burning.
Cover the kettle and cook for the time required by your recipe. Lift the lid only to baste, check for doneness or to add briquettes -- through the holes by the handles in the top grate -- as necessary, if the total cooking time is more than an hour.
Spread a layer of charcoal one briquette deep on the lower grate, and then heap them together in the centre. Spreading the charcoal out before heaping them together and lighting them ensures that you will have a single layer of prepared coals for cooking.
Light the briquettes and leave the lid off. Wait until the briquettes have a light coating of grey ash -- at least 25 or 30 minutes. Once they are uniformly grey, spread them out again one layer deep.
Place the top grate on the kettle.
Put the meat on the top grate. You can sear the meat before putting the cover on, if you wish.
Place the cover over the kettle and cook per your recipe's instructions. Lift the cover only to baste or check for doneness.
Put all the burners on high and preheat the grill.
Turn off the burners directly beneath the meat or other food. Adjust the burners on either side of the food according to the temperature called for in your recipe.
Place roasts, chickens, turkeys or large cuts of meat in the centre of the grill. Weber recommends placing the item on a roasting rack set inside a dripping pan, such as a large foil pan. Weber also suggests adding water to the pan for longer cooking times to prevent the drippings from burning.
Close the lid. Cook for the time specified by your recipe or until the meat is done. Open the lid only to baste or check for doneness.
Turn all the burners to high and preheat the grill.
Set the burners to the temperature called for in your recipe.
Put the meat or other food on the grate.
Close the lid. Open it only to baste or to check for doneness.
Weber advises leaving the top and bottom vents of the charcoal-grill kettle open both before and during cooking, but if the fire gets too hot, you can close the bottom vents partially. For a well-ventilated barbecue, be sure to remove the ashes from your previous barbecue from the bottom of the kettle before starting. Draw the cover to the side when lifting it while cooking, to prevent ashes from being drawn up into the food.