The Basics of Direct Cooking on a Charcoal BBQ

The Basics of Direct Cooking on a Charcoal BBQ

Charcoal can be intimidating but with the easy steps outlined below, you are sure to master it in no time!
Here are secrets to cooking an awesome inaugural meal on your kettle.

In this example we will be setting up the Weber Kettle for Direct Cooking to cook up some steaks.


  • Before pre-heating the kettle, make sure that the dampers on the bottom of the kettle and the damper in the lid are completely open.
  • Remove the top cooking grill and hang it off the handle.
  • Fill your charcoal baskets with the required amount of fuel.
    Using a Chimney Starter? - Fill your chimney starter up halfway (about 50-60 briquettes) with charcoal.
  • Using the bottom grill (charcoal grate), place 2 lighter cubes under each charcoal basket (or the chimney starter) and light them. Wait 10-20 minutes until the charcoal has completely ashed over and is white in colour.


  • Use a BBQ mitt to move the charcoal baskets to where you are setting up the cook. Usually together to one side for direct cooking (having it to the side and not in the centre sets up a 'safe zone' where the temperature isn't as intense if needed).
    Chimney Starter Method: evenly dump the ashed over charcoal onto the charcoal grate or charcoal baskets in the preferred position.
  • Place the cooking grill in the kettle over the charcoal grate.
  • Put the lid on the kettle and double check that the lid vent is completely open. Your kettle will need to preheat for 10-15 minutes.
  • While the kettle is pre-heating you can prepare your steaks.
    Note: your steaks should be out of the fridge to come up to room temperature.
  • Put a little bit of olive oil on the steaks.
  • Season the entire surface of the steak with your favourite seasoning (or even just a little salt and pepper)


  • Use the hook on the inside of the kettle lid to hang it off the bowl or use the lid slide away holder if you have that feature on your kettle.
  • Next time you cook, this is the point where you would brush the grills clean using a stainless steel brush.
  • Place the steaks on the cooking grill on the part that is over the coals, close the lid, and set a timer for 2-4 minutes, depending on how you like your steaks done.
    Keep the lid on until your timer goes off.
  • Once the timer has gone off, while using a glove, remove the lid and hang it from the bowl. Flip the steaks using tongs and place the steaks back on the side over the coals.
    If you have the space, try to place the steaks on a new section of grill as it will be hotter and give a better result. Put the lid back on the kettle.
  • Set your timer for another 2-4 minutes. Then check the steaks with an instant read thermometer to make sure they are done to your liking. Below is a guide to help you interpret internal temperatures.
  • Once you take the steaks off the grill, it is important to let them rest!

Internal Beef Temperature Chart

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