Controlling heat on charcoal

Discussion started on


So I am a BBQ newbie, but I have graduated from the $25 Walmart special grill to a Weber.  Holy cow does this thing cook!  The problem I have is with the Walmart grill I could put in 40 briquettes and it would have the right about of heat.  If I do that on the Weber I burn the food the minute it hits the grate!  I am trying to keep things at a medium heat level.  Any tips on how much charcoal to use?  Thanks!
#1 - May 28, 2012, 12:25:19 pm


  • Karma: 23
I'm not a Weber user, but are you talking about a Weber Kettle for grilling or a WSM for smoking?
#2 - May 28, 2012, 03:18:34 pm
Mark Motta
Meatier Creator


  • Karma: 2
I use the WSM and I load it full for my big all night meats. I also have a PartyQ to control heat. Before i bought one it would take like an hour to get my temps just right. You need to leave top vent open and adjust with the lower vents , one at a time . I hold temp all night once I get where I need to be. All that info is for the WSM.
#3 - May 28, 2012, 07:59:20 pm


  • Karma: 19
Like the others have it a WSM or a kettle style grill?  Also, are you truly BBQing or grilling?

If you are BBQing and your meat is getting burned quickly, you either have way too much heat or aren't using a heat diffuser of some sort (or both). 

I'm guessing your using a Weber One Touch.  If you are, try cooking indirectly with the fuel source moved to one side and the meat moved to the other side.

Keep us posted and best of luck.

#4 - May 29, 2012, 01:43:29 am
I love animals.  They're delicious!
VRM Pit Crew


  • Karma: 4
As Crash stated, there are more questions we would need before giving you answers.  However, I will assume you are using a Weber Ketltle and grilling rather than smoking low and slow.

First, use the method Crash stated by placing the charcoal to one side and moving the meat either from the hot side to the cool side as it cooks or just leaving it on the cool side and cooking a longer time.

What kind of charcoal are you using?  Please do not use the matchlight kind.  Also, do not start your fire with lighter fluid, use a chimney starter where you can control the amount of coals you need for the task at hand.

Good luck,
#5 - May 29, 2012, 07:56:41 am


Sorry folks, I am using a Weber One Touch Gold.  I use Kingsford charcoal and a chimney starter.

I've been grilling all day yesterday, trying to experiment with heat levels.  First time was with Italian sausage.  I had 10 links, and by the time I set the 10th down on the grate, the first one was chared and getting ready to explode ha ha.  So I immediately moved all the links to indirect heat for the remainder of the time.

Second attempt was with boneless chicken breasts.  I reduced the briquette amount considerably.  I was able to cook over direct heat the entire time without turning them into rubber.

Third attempt was steak, which was perfect result.

I was just getting impatient I guess.  I should have tried more before posting.  I do want to try and get lower temps though, so I can try and slow cook things like tri-tip.  Is there a good thermometer I can use to check the temperature inside the grill?  Where would you recommend mounting it, near the grate or more up top?
#6 - May 29, 2012, 01:55:33 pm

Smoke'N Phoenicians BBQ

  • Karma: 1
Hey Anthony...Welcome to the BBQ World!!!! Crash mentioned a 2 stage fire, which will defiantly solve your problem. I also wanted to throw out there make sure your coals are ready for grilling, usually when they are grayed over. Now I wanted to let you know Jeff Fearing teaches a grilling seminar at FLemings Prime Steakhouse on Northern and the 101 in Peoria is next class is June 9 at 1pm. He teaches how to build a 2 stage fire and how to grill the perfect steak! You will be served steaks for lunch and they pair wine to go with the different steaks. If you are interested call and make a reservation 623-772-9463
#7 - May 29, 2012, 02:55:28 pm


  • Karma: 19
I think the first step is to truly understand what defines grilling and what defines BBQ...they are vastly different.

From what it sounds like, you are grilling and it looks like you are getting it close to dialed in.  You're doing the best thing you can...... practicing and experimenting. 

When you are ready to truly go low and slow and cook over indirect heat, just use that two stage method described above.  You'll be good to go.

Best of luck and keep us posted on your results.
#8 - May 30, 2012, 05:45:28 pm
I love animals.  They're delicious!
VRM Pit Crew


0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.