How much Charcoal?
When working with charcoal, the basic rule is the more coal, the hotter your fire. You do not need much if you are just cooking easy stuff like burgers, dogs, brats. Maybe 15 – 20 coals will do the trick. If you want a blazing hot fire for searing steak, for instance, then you’re going to need a lot more. At least double that. I get a good hefty mound going if I want to sear.
If you’re slow cooking/smoking, again you don’t need very much. Maybe 15. However, if you’re cooking for a long period of time, you may need to add additional coals. Watch the temperature of your grill – if it’s not staying above 200, you need to throw a few more on. Maybe 5 at a time.
As a rule of thumb, go on the low side to start – you can always add more.
Watch the video about how to set up your grill for direct cooking. I talked about the amount of coals to use!