Sometimes we become complacent, especially with a short cook and we end up struggling to get our cook done rather than enjoying the experience. A few of you are already nodding and yes this was me Wednesday evening, a quick grill on some marinated pork steaks so I only used a small amount of charcoal as I didn't need it to burn for long. Sounds reasonable doesn't it? The problem being of course that a small amount of charcoal gives off a small amount of heat and since my quick cook still involved indirect cooking across the whole cooking area a small amount of heat didn't last long enough.
My folks were down from the Midlands and I wanted to smoke some pork steaks for them to give them a lovely smoky barbecue flavour and the heat was dropping, not something you want with either chicken or pork. Instinct is to throw more charcoal on BUT this has the effect of lowering temperatures for around twenty minutes whilst the new charcoal catches and heats up. Fortunately being a BBQ nut I have a few grills so I was able to put more charcoal in a starter to heat up and add to the fire without dropping the temperature any further which potentially would have killed the cook and I would have ended up grilling the steaks in the kitchen!
Fortunately noticing early and putting more charcoal in the chimney to get it going quickly saved the cook. The steaks turned out tender and tasty (though I would have preferred the fat cap to be crispy) and they did take on a smoky flavour but they took longer than anticipated and I didn't enjoy the cook as I would have liked to. The stupid part is I know that I can shut the Pro Q Frontier down and save any unburned charcoal for the next cook. So why only use a small amount, fill the barbecue up, control the temperature with the vents then close it down and use the charcoal next time. Hopefully this is a mistake I won't make in the future.
Keep 'em hot guys and enjoy the summer (oh and get plenty of charcoal in!)