It’s grilling season! A few tips to improve your technique: Charcoal can be tricky but doable if you know the secrets. For one pound of meat cooked with the direct-heat method (smack over the fire), a good rule of thumb is 30 briquettes. For the same amount of meat using slower indirect heat, you’ll need about 50 briquettes.
Pile your briquettes in a pyramid. About 20 minutes after lighting, your charcoal should be about 70 percent covered in ash with a faint glow. Spread the charcoal out to extend at least an inch beyond the edges of the food to be cooked.
A time-honored method to determine temperature: hold your hand palm down over the fire about six inches above the coals. Count in seconds how long you can comfortably hold your hand there: 5: 200-300 degrees Fahrenheit; 4: 300-350 degrees; 3: 350-375 degrees; 2: 375 and above.
You need a good set of spring-loaded long-handled tongs for turning meats. A sturdy wire brush is absolutely necessary to clean your grill racks. A long-handled spatula will serve you well. Different sizes of basting brushes come in handy. Skewers come in metal, wood and bamboo varieties. Wire baskets are great for grilling vegetables.