Slim, I don't use a basket for charcoal but I can see that it works well for others so it's worth a try. I decided against using the firebox grate (the one that slides in over the coals, meant for grilling) because it seemed to sit too high. The thin one that comes with the grill is useless...I turned it over and used it in the cooking chamber to baffle the heat toward the center of the grill. It works Ok for that purpose, but I really need tuning plates made. I actually use an old Hibachi grill grate in mine because it fit just right. There is about 1.5" of space between grate and bottom of firebox. There is no one best way to do anything. What works for some may not work for others. Tonight it took my grill about 1 hr to get up to temp and now I have about 15 more degrees before my tri-tip comes off. Back at it tomorrow with 2 Boston butts....good luck with keeping that temp right!