Great Grilling Tricks
Here are a few of mine. What are yours?
1. Use a metal chimney (looks like a huge metal coffee mug with a screen bottom) to start your briquettes. Paper goes underneath, a few Match Light briquettes on the bottom, and then normal briquettes to fill. The metal chimney is less than $10 at Wal Mart and makes ALL the difference. 20 minutes after you light the paper, the briquettes are ready
2. Place a foil tin in the middle of the fire pit and then pour your (now lit) briquettes around the foil. Now you have a cool spot in the middle of your grill for keeping meat warm when it's almost done.
3. Thin sliced Russet potatoes take a while to grill, but when they are done they are healthy versions of fries.
4. Scrape clean your grill (with a metal brush) just before you add the food. The grill will be hot and easier to scrape than after the meal, when the grill is cooler.
Those chimneys are great: I've found the Coleman or Diamond slow matches [12 min] are all you need to get them going: just set on a common paver [save your driveway] atop one of those matches, and ignore for 15 minutes while you prepare the meat. I cook for 2, so I run a half load of briquets---no accelerants for me: I think it's paraffin in those matches, but I'm not sure: at least it doesn't go near the food. Reasonable caution will easily deliver coals safely from the Weber chimney to the grill basket, at no hazard to your fingers. A few more minutes to let the grill itself heat, during which time you can start the corn on the cob grilling, and you're ready.
Whole cleaned and scaled small-medium **FRESH** (1-1.5 lb.) fish (trout,bronzini,sea bass,sea bream, or the like) rubbed inside and out with EVOO, pepper and salt with a few branches of thyme and thin slices of lemon placed in the cavity, grilled in a well-oiled fish basket over high heat 5-7min a side. (no pink inside and should start to flake when done).
I have grilled for more than 40 years, no telling how many steers and hogs and hickens have not escaped by grill...You are right on the chimney, but if you are grilling (i.e. over direct heat, what some NY'ers call barbecuing) use the real lump charcoal. Match light is loaded with chemicals and has an off taste. Real charcoal lights more quickly, burns hotter, cleaner, and has little ash. You will never go back to briquettes. I used them for years, and now use them only for direct heat smoking. Grilling demands charcoal.
Regarding cleaning, leave the lid on the grill after you are done and while there is still heat. This will burn away alot of the stuck on stuff. Then while it is still hot, scrape with a metal brush. This will be easier than cleaning right before you add the food.
Also, right before you add food, brush lightly with a kitchen towel dabbed in oil. Enough to lightly coak the grates but not burn.
Grill corn directly over the heat. Don't wrap in foil and don't soak with husks on. Fresh corn doesn't need alot of time on the grill, just enough to char the kernals. Plus, this method burns off alot of the silk still on the husk.
Using a metal chimney, you don't even need to mess with the Match Light briquettes.