While these barbecues are fuelled by charcoal, they operate in a slightly different way. These cookers are very much of the vertical style, meaning the fuel is always beneath the cooking grate. The trick for a roast or a slow cook, is to insert a deflector plate between the fuel and the food on the cooking grate. With this ceramic plate in-place the air is forced outwards as it rises up through the cooker, meaning it circulates beneath the dome and around the food on the grate.
They are fantastically efficient due to the heat retaining properties of the ceramic construction and unlike a classic charcoal barbecue ceramic barbecues are fuelled exclusively on lumpwood charcoal. A relatively small quantity of lumpwood charcoal can give you up to 12 hours of heat on which to cook.
Temperature regulation and control of a ceramic barbecue is achieved by controlling the airflow through the cooker, with the bottom vent being the air intake and the top vent being the exhaust.
Hot air rises, therefore the direction of airflow through a charcoal barbecue is from bottom to top. Closing one or both of the vents will put the fuel out within 15–20 minutes. Fire needs Oxygen!
Ceramic fuel setup
The following diagrams show the 2 ways to setup for cooking on your ceramic barbecue. Master these cooking methods and it will expand your barbecue repertoire, opening up a whole new world of delicious recipes.