Smoking like a Chimney
16 August 2006
This summer, I decided to start grilling with actual chunks-of-wood charcoal, instead of pressed-and-formed McCharcoal Briquettes (now made with all white meat). Real charcoal does not include the mass-load of volatile organic compounds that the "match-light" briquettes have. I started by dousing it with liberal amounts of charcoal starter fluid, and whoosh, I'd eventually get an uneven grilling bed.
After picking up a few copies of Cook's Illustrated (check out July's centerfold), I learned of the charcoal chimney. A few sheets of newspaper or discarded resumes you got from some goons on Craigslist, and your charcoal is evenly nice and toasty within 20 minutes. It's a beautiful and simple design. I have no idea why I never tried one sooner.