Weber basics: how to light the perfect fire

Every man should know how to light the perfect fire. Every woman should know how to light the perfect fire. It’s one of those essential skills one shouldn’t be allowed to live without. Here’s what you need to know to as far as the basics go when braaing in your Weber. Please note this article is for beginner braaiers. If you know the basics already, you may want to jump straight to learning more about direct and indirect cooking.
1. Let in the air: before you do anything, remove the lid and open all air vents. If there is ash in the bottom of the grill, remove it. Your charcoal requires oxygen to burn so you don’t want any clogged vents. Position the bottom/charcoal grid so that the lines of the grid run in the same direction as the leg without the wheel.
2. Prepare your firelighters: decide whether you are going to be using the direct or indirect method of cooking. For indirect, place the firelighters on either side of your grid, for direct, place them in the centre of the charcoal grid. Don’t use lighter fluid as it may affect the flavour of your food.
3. Make a pyramid out of briquettes: on top of your firelighters build a pyramid out of briquettes. For indirect cooking, you will build up the briquettes on either side of your grid and for direct, the peak of your pyramid will be in the centre of the grid. Make sure you can still access some of your firelighters for step 4.

Or, you can pile your charcoal into a Weber chimney starter for a quicker and easier start.
4. Light your firelighters: once you’ve lit your firelighters you may want to add more briquettes. Keep an eye on your briquettes to make sure they are taking. Do not replace the lid.
5. Arrange your coals: after about 25-30 minutes, your coals should have turned from black to grey; they should be covered with a light grey ash. You can then move them, using long-handled tongs and organise.
Direct method: Spread your briquettes out evenly across the bottom of the grid. Find out more about the direct method of cooking.

Indirect method: place your briquettes on either side of the charcoal grid, leaving the middle empty. Place a large Weber drip pan in the centre. Find out more about the indirect method of cooking.

6. Hot smoke: consider whether you would like to hot smoke for extra flavour.

7. Place the cooking grid on top: this grid needs to warm up before you can start cooking your food.
8. Use your lid: for indirect cooking, place your lid on top and try stop yourself from peaking at your food. For direct cooking, you can choose whether to place the lid on or not. When lifting the lid, lift it to the side rather than straight up so as not to draw ash into your food.

9. Use your vents: if you want to drop the temperature of your Weber, close the vents slightly. This will starve your fire of oxygen. If you want to raise the temperature of your Weber, open the vents.

10. Don’t over cook your food: Weber have put together this handy chart of cooking times and once you’ve finished cooking, close the vents to save your coals for next time.
With these handy tips you’ll be out of the Weber starting blocks before you can say… Usain Bolt.

Ever tried roasting a chicken on a beer can? Check out this nifty trick.

 

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Written by Lisa Grey

Lisa is the commissioning editor of Spatula. When out of the Yuppiechef Test Kitchen, she spends her days with her toes in the Noordhoek sand, chasing her baby daughter, Bella, around the house. View more articles by .

4 Comments

  1. [...] the Weber Poultry Roaster Learn how to light the perfect fire in your Weber Find out more: Weber basics: indirect vs direct [...]

  2. [...] So, armed with the knowledge of the difference between direct and indirect cooking, take the next step and find out how to light the perfect fire in your Weber. [...]

  3. [...] have roaring flames in minutes. Weber make a great chimney starter. Check out this article on how to light a perfect fire on a Weber to see it in [...]

  4. Edward says:

    Followed these tips tonight – just had the best Weber chicken ever!

  5. YVONNE says:

    I BOUGHT QUITE AN EXPENSIVE KETTLE BRAAI NOT A WEBER. AND JUST COULD NOT SUCCEED USING IT PROPERLY. PLEASE i MAKE FIRE DIRECTLY INTO THE BOTTOM, BUT SEE THAT U PEOPLE PUT IT ON THE GRID, ,AM I DOING IT INCORRECTLY? I GOT NO BOOK WITH IT, WOULD LIKE TO KNOW MORE ABOUT IT,AS I STAY IN A FLAT AND AM ONLY ALLOWED TO USE A KETTLE. THANKS FOR A VERY INTERESTING ARTICLE

    • Yuppiechef says:

      Hi Yvonne,

      We’ll pass your query onto our product fundi’s and see what we can find out for you. :) Can you tell us the brand and make of the braai you bought? We don’t stock kettle braai’s so a little more info will help us with your question.

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