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It wasn't until I read a recent article on Texas barbecue that I considered how easily traversable is the logistical distance that separates that elevated form from simple, pedestrian grilling. (This is not to address the bald philosophical disparities, though; in writer Joel Stein's words, "Barbecuing is cooking with smoke. Grilling is what you do to your children's hamburgers.") Herewith an attempt to bridge the gap, with tips courtesy of chow.com:
1. Soak a couple cups of wood chips in a bucket of water for at least 15 minutes.
2. Fill a chimney starter three-fourths full with charcoal, then pour it out onto one side of the grill.
3. Shake excess water out of half of the wood chips, then set on top of the charcoal. Fill the chimney starter with charcoal again—only halfway this time—and light it.
4. Once the charcoal's flaming, pour it onto the pile of unlit coal and wood chips. Top with another cup of damp wood chips.
5. Place an aluminum pan on the other side of the grill (to catch the meat drippings), then put the top grate on. Fill another aluminum pan with water—to keep the temperature down—and set on the part of the grate directly above the coals.
6. Cover the grill—all vents should be open—and heat until it's 250 degrees inside. Place whatever you're smoking on the side of the grill away from the pan of water.