First and foremost, I am a member of a few other Stack Exchange sites, and I haven't been this excited about one for a while. I'm basically a nerd that's trying to get into cooking, and I couldn't be more happy they made this :)
Onto the question,
Growing up, I've always grilled on gas grills. Recently, I've moved into an apartment with my girlfriend and we are only allowed to have a charcoal grill. It's a tiny one (I think), probably about 1.5 - 2 feet in diameter. I use the charcoal that are already covered in flammable material (the black ones), and they work pretty well. I basically follow the directions every single time I go to light the grill. I put about 30-40 bricks in the middle of the grill in a pyramid shape, light them in several places, and then watch it burn. I do this until the flame pretty much dies down and the bricks are about 80-85% covered in grey ash. After that, I put the cage back on the grill, let it heat up so I can clean it off with the brush, and then shake the bricks until they are even across the bottom.
Right after this I put the steak on (right in the middle where there's the most heat from all the bricks burning in the pyramid towards the top before I spread them out). Now at this point, I NEVER have any idea how long it should stay there, when I should flip it, if I should flip it more than once, what I should look for before I flip it, how fast it's cooking - I basically don't know anything. I'm a guy, I hate how I can't grill great! :(
I usually end up either over cooking it so it's tough, or under cooking it and it's still bleeding in the middle. I like my steaks right around medium, and I can never seem to get them perfect. I had a perfect one once, and it was 100% luck. I don't have a thermometer or anything to test the meat with (maybe I need to invest in one?), nor do I have anything that I can test how hot the grill is inside. The grill has a basic black cover with a little vent so I can control the air getting inside, but no thermometer or anything.
Can I get some tips? I'm cooking a steak on the grill for my girlfriend tonight that has been marinating for over 24 hours, and I don't want to mess it up!
P.S. And I almost forgot! The steak I am cooking tonight is a London Broil.