Rob and I are not gadget people, and aside from the basic technological items like televisions, computers and smartphones, we keep a pretty modest home when it comes to having the latest gizmos and gadgets. In fact, as of next Tuesday we won't even have a cable box anymore now that we've decided to cancel our services for the summer, an experiment I'm certain will likely come to an end once hockey season starts.
I apply the same simple approach when it comes to our cooking gear, with two exceptions: my ice cream maker and our charcoal chimney.
This little galvanized smoking machine is the key to successful charcoal barbecuing. If you can do it on your own, without one, you are my hero. Since I'm not looking to make my life any more complicated, I've decided to ditch the charcoal-and-lighter-fluid flare ups of my youth, and stick to the simplicity of my summer sidekick, which requires nothing more than two sheets of newspaper, some hardwood charcoal - you don't want your food to taste like charred chemicals - and a lighter.
Here's how to do it: stuff two sheet of paper into the bottom chamber of the charcoal chimney. Invert the contraption so it's sitting paper-side down and fill the top chamber with charcoal. Light the paper via one of the holes on the bottom, and leave it for 15 or 20 minutes, or until the top pieces of charcoal are grayish-white and you can see a flame. Pour the charcoal over the bottom rack of your grill and cook. It really is that easy.
PS - Do you like my shiny new Weber charcoal bbq? I picked it up off Craigslist this week. The seller's asking price? Two bottles of wine. Awesome.