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The Perfect Summer BBQ: A Guide to the Weber Charcoal Grill

Updated on June 24, 2016

My Summer Grill

Weber Grill
Weber Grill | Source

Charcoal Grill Guide

Weber Charcoal Grills are an American classic that bring back memories of July 4th BBQ's, and Grandpa cooking those perfectly charred hot dogs I just loved as a kid. There's something about that smoky, campfire taste that just can't be replicated by anything short of a charcoal grill. I bought myself a Weber One-Touch Silver and have loved every mouth-watering moment since. With a price tag at about $100, you can't beat the BBQ for the buck.

A Beginner's Guide to Charcoal Grilling

This guide covers:

1.) How to choose your charcoal.

2.) How to get your charcoal grill lit.

3.) How to control your charcoal grill temperature.

4.) How to choose the right Cooking Method.

5.) Great BBQ ideas and my experience with the Weber One-Touch Silver

Weber One-Touch Silver

Weber Grill Vent
Weber Grill Vent | Source

The Perfect Summer BBQ

Weber charcoal grills are perfect for BBQ rookies and experts a-like. They're incredibly forgiving, yet have the ability to produce award winning BBQ with some dedication. Getting your Weber charcoal grill started is simple and may I say, pretty fun! First you'll have to decide which kind of charcoal you'll want to use. Charcoal briquettes are widely available and cheaper than Natural Lump Charcoal, but they both have their pros and cons. Here's a quick explanation of the two:

1.) Pick your Charcoal: Briquettes vs. Natural Lump

Charcoal Briquettes- These are compressed coals made from wood by-products and chemicals, designed for a long even burn.

Natural Lump Charcoal- These are charred all natural lumps of wood, perfect for the BBQ purist. But beware... They burn hotter and faster than charcoal briquettes.

I prefer the all natural lump charcoal myself. They're a little more spendy, but the natural wood flavor tastes worlds better than the imitation flavor in the briquettes. I try to grill as natural as possible, no lighter fluid, and natural lump... but that's just me. You'll find what work's best for you.

Weber Chimney Starter in Action!

Weber Chimney Starter
Weber Chimney Starter | Source

2.) Prepare Your Grill

Now that you have picked your charcoal, prepare your grill by taking out the top grate and opening the bottom vents.

Open the Bottom Vent- On the bottom of the Weber Silver series is a vent that allows oxygen to pass through the grill. When starting your grill, slide this lower vent all the way open so your coals will get nice and hot.

Then Light Your Charcoal- There are a couple of ways to get your charcoal ready for the grill. I prefer to use a charcoal chimney...

Weber Charcoal chimney

Weber Charcoal Chimney- This is a sturdy metal ventilated vessel, that helps heat your coals quickly and evenly. Set your charcoal chimney on the lower grate in your Weber Grill, then fill up your chimney with the charcoal of your choice. Place a starting cube or newspaper under the loaded chimney, light, and it will be ready to go in about 20 minutes. Once the top coals are covered in white ash, dump the coals onto the lower grate in your Weber Charcoal Grill, spread them evenly and you're good to go.

The Pyramid Method- If you don't have a charcoal chimney. Simply stack your charcoal into a pyramid or pile. Place newspaper in the grate below the stack and light. Many charcoal briquettes are easy light, however if you prefer to use lighter fluid follow the directions given on the bottle.

4 Steps to Easy Grillin'

  1. Load the Chimney
  2. Light
  3. Dump
  4. Grill!

I love my Weber Charcoal Chimney. It makes lighting your coals easy and fast. The Weber Rapidfire Starter is the model I bought, and I've been nothing but impressed. I never grill with out it. Check out this 5 star charcoal chimney starter on Amazon.

The Weber Charcoal Chimney Starter

3.) Choose your cooking method

Direct Heat- certain foods cook better over direct high heat. Foods like flank steak, burgers, and other quicker cooking foods can be placed right over the coals and brought to temperature. If you plan on grilling over direct heat, spread a layer of coals over the bottom grate, and place your food directly over the heat.

Indirect Heat- other foods should be cooked over indirect heat. This is for foods that require lower longer cooks. If you plan on grilling with indirect heat move a single layer of coals to one side of the grill, or both sides leaving the center empty. Place your food on the opposite side of the hot coals. Then put on the lid and position the top vent over your food. This will require the smoke and heat to travel over your food and out the top vent, giving it a delicious smoky flavor.

If you're not sure whether to position your coals for direct heating or indirect heating, use this table for a reference.

Cooking Times & Methods

The Meat
Direct Heat
Indirect Heat
Boneless Chicken Breast
Med. 8-12 min.
as needed
Chicken Thighs
Med. 8-10 min.
as needed
Chicken Wings
Med. 18-20 min.
as needed
Half Chicken
Med. 30-40 min.
Whole Chicken
Med. 1- 1.5 hr.
Fish Fillet
High 5-10 min.
Whole Fish
Med. 4- 5 min. per ½ in. thickness; 8- 10 min. per 1 in. thickness
2" Thick Cut Steak
High 6-8 min. sear
High 8-10 min.
Flank Steak
High 8-10 min.
High 8-10 min.
1" Pork Chop
Med. 8-10 min.
Spare Ribs/Baby Back
Low 3-4 hrs.

For the Reddit Grillers

*Note: It's best to set up an area in your grill with direct heat (directly above the coals), and an area with indirect heat (indirect heat from the coals), so you can better control your cooking temperatures. If you find foods like chicken charring to easily over direct heat, move them to the indirect heat area of the grill to finish cooking.

Sweet & Spicy Wings

Hot Wings on Weber
Hot Wings on Weber | Source

4.) Getting Your Grill to Temperature

Once your coals are hot and ashed over, you'll want to put on the lid and adjust the grills temperature. If you want to have any success on your Weber grill you'll need to invest in a digital thermometer. You can find them for about $30 bucks at any grill store, or for cheap on Amazon. Place the thermometer on a consistent place on the top grate. Now it's time to adjust your vent:

Weber Vent Control


Using the Top and Bottom Vents-

Getting your grill to to the right temperature and keeping it there will take some practice, but before your know it you'll be King (or Queen) of the vents! Use your digital thermometer to track internal temperatures.

The Bottom Vent- Think of your bottom vent as the temperature control knob- the more you open it the hotter your grill will get, just remember...

Open Wide! The wider you open the vents the hotter the Grill will get.

Choke it! The more you close the vents to choke the oxygen flow, and lower the temperature will get.

The Top Vent- The top vent plays part in temperature control, but consider it more of the smoke control knob.

Practice with these vents and your digital thermometer to reach your desired temperature.

Hot Wings on Weber
Hot Wings on Weber | Source
General Temperatures
Specific BBQ Temperatures (F)
200-225 degrees
225-325 degrees
325-450 degrees
450-600 degrees

5.) Grill On!

Now that your grill's at the perfect temperature you're ready to grill.

  • Place your favorite items on the grill & cover
  • Adjust your top and bottom vents as needed.
  • Flip halfway through cooking if necessary
  • Use your digital thermometer to check your foods internal temperature.

Internal Temperature for Grilling

The Meat
The Temp. (F)
Pork Chops (well)
160 and above
Steaks (well)
160 and above
Steaks (med.)
Steaks (rare)

Master of the Grill

Once you've mastered the basics of controlling your Weber one touch silver series, you'll discover the possibilities to BBQ infamy are endless! You'll be the talk of the town with those fall-off-the-bone skills your neighbors envy.

Smoked Chicken Halves

WW | Source

Great BBQ Ideas for Beginners

Smoke a whole chicken

Make BBQ meatballs

Grill Spicy Chicken Wings

Create a Double Beef Double Bacon Burger

Review: Weber One- Touch Silver

5 stars from 2 ratings of Weber One- Touch Silver Charcoal Grill

The Grill

What is your favorite way to grill?

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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Hey Lvidoni5 loved reading the hub and got my meats worth!!!

      No Kangaroo meat in Oregon, must be a poorer country to have to export it all to Australia! Red wine marinade and rare is the basic recipe. The aged recipe is a well guarded secret and the local chefs refuse to reveal its ancient ingredients. Yep we have some very, very experienced chefs who favour this way of cooking…..seems like they have been doing it for thousands of years. Its all about collecting wood from the backyard ( thousands of square mile) and hunting the Roo’s so the family could have a sit down meal while they chat. How long has Oregon been exporting Kangaroo meat?

    • LVidoni5 profile imageAUTHOR

      Brian Loewer 

      5 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Well Ausseye, I don't even know where I'd get kangaroo meat in Oregon. I saw Kangaroo once, but it was someone's pet. They'd have a fit if I tried to eat it.

      Feel free to leave the recipe and I have to ask you.. Is cooking a whole 'Roo over and wood fire something that's done in Australia?

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Hey LV..5,

      Geeeys live in the country and wood is wood…old and yes prone to smoke

      And a grill just a piece of mesh on the ground, but then you got the taste buds going!!!

      Flowing…..just a picture of man doing the universe a taste experiment.

      My old man was a chef …French trained …landed on the Russian front

      Barbecues were the way to live between the bullets.

      And yes they used wood…just an Australian thing

      Kangaroo is just about the best …on a barbeque !!!

      If you want I can hop you to a recipe !!!!

    • LVidoni5 profile imageAUTHOR

      Brian Loewer 

      5 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Thanks MrsBrown, No doubt you could do it! Appreciate the comment and share!

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image

      Lurana Brown 

      5 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      I don't have a grill but this makes me feel like I could actually do it if I did. :-D Very informative and well-written! Sharing. ~Lurana

    • LVidoni5 profile imageAUTHOR

      Brian Loewer 

      5 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Mike, I knew there had to be some more charcoal fans here at the Hubs. Thanks, glad you like the guide!

    • Mike Robbers profile image

      Mike Robbers 

      5 years ago from London

      Great guide and hub! I'm a charcoal fan too! Thanks for sharing these useful tips.

    • LVidoni5 profile imageAUTHOR

      Brian Loewer 

      5 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Hey Pamela! Yeah I agree, when it comes to charcoal vs. propane there's no comparison for me. They both serve there purpose, but darnit I just can't get enough meals of my Weber charcoal grill.

      Enjoy your summer! -Brian

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      5 years ago from Sunny Florida

      I love meat grilled on charcoal. We have both types of grills, but the charcoal wins out in my opinion. This is a very thorough hub with a lot of great information.


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