I'm a HUGE fan of Steven's books. A lot of the recipes (especially the indirect grilling ones) want medium or sometimes medium-low heat. It seems like I'm letting too much of the coal burn away before putting it in the grill (I'm using a chimney starter). So, by the time the cooking has barely started, the heat is slipping away. Also, b/c I'm not sure how long to let coals burn to reach medium or medium-low, the food is sometimes going without proper heat while the second batch of coals is getting (over)heated. Unfortunately, I'm not having much success using the "hold your hand over the coals" trick either. The result is, I'm getting really really frustrated, and am gun-shy about even trying indirect cooking.
Can somebody PLEASE give me some tips on accurate pre-heating of charcoal in a chimney starter? Should I just leave them in the starter just long enough to catch, and then dump them in the grill? I'm almost defeated enough to go back to a gas grill. Thanks a lot.