charcoal setup


Mac Mayhew

TVWBB Member
I've thoroughly enjoyed your books, recipes, and videos on the Webernation site. After trying many of your recipes, my family gets excited when I get ready to grill someting.

I also appreciate your taking the time to answer questions here.

I was wondering what you would suggest for someone who wants to get into charcoal grilling. I'm trying to encourage family members to get into charcoal but would like some tips. I'd like to recommend items that would allow them to try a number of different things with their grill without having to buy every accessory available. In particular:

1) What type of grill would you suggest?
2)What accessories do you consider essential?
3) What tools do you consider essential?
4) What would you suggest for accessories that are not really essential but would be nice to have?

Thanks for any input!
Thanks for your questions. I hope I can help your family with charcoal grilling.

The Weber Performer is the best charcoal grill on the planet without a doubt. It's particularly good for newcomers because of the gas lighter and the really big, secure work area. The gas lighter will get the coals lit in about 5 minutes. Then you turn it off. The work area is key for being comfortable at the grill. You need a place to lay down trays, tools, drinks, whatever.

The most important accessory is a sturdy pair of spring-loaded tongs. Actually I have three pairs at my grill at all times. I use one pair for moving around the charcoal, one pair for moving raw or partially cooked meat, and one pair for taking food off the grill and plating it.

Another important tool/accessory is a chimney starter. You can get a batch of coals started with the gas lighter on a Performer, but if you plan to grill for more than thirty minutes or so, it’s very helpful to have some coals burning in a chimney starter off to the side. For safety, I put my chimney starter in a big galvanized steel buck out of reach of my kids and dogs. With those burning coals you can add a lot heat to the fire right away. Controlling the fire is at least half the challenge/fun of charcoal grilling.

Another nice accessory to have is an instant-read thermometer.

Good grilling to you and your family!