1. It's all about the balance of fuel & oxygen
It's easy to overlook oxygen as an element when you're thinking about how much charcoal to burn. If there's no balance between charcoal burning and the amount of oxygen that you're letting in through the dampers/hood vents, then the BBQ may end up not being the optimal temperature.
We like to use this formula when thinking about heat:
more oxygen (more open dampers) = quicker fuel consumption = hotter grill
2. Use a charcoal chimney
A charcoal chimney gives you the best chance of achieving a controlled, even heat.
Fill the base of the BBQ with just the amount of unlit charcoal that you need. Then separately, light the charcoal in the chimney and get the embers glowing. Pour the hot embers over the until charcoal in the BBQ and you're ready to start grilling.
3. Damper control — use those bottom dampers
While the dampers seen on the lid of the BBQ seem like the obvious choice for heat control, did you know that there are dampers at the bottom too? These are the game changer for controlling your cook.
Remember these two things:
Bottom dampers = draws oxygen to fuel the fire
Top dampers = airflow to release the smoke
For more advice on grilling and BBQ techniques, head to the Watson-the-BBQ site.