We already established that you want to cook your food over coals. The kind of coals that you choose are important. All coals have different burn times, different heat signatures, and different flavors that it imparts on the meat.
When you are deciding on which coals to use, I suggest starting with lump charcoal. I like lump coal because it usually burns more evenly, and you don't get as much ash when you are finished cooking. Lump is superior to briquettes. It's not really a question. It's a fact.
After you have selected your lump coal, you can choose wood chunks or chips to use on top of the coals to impart more wood flavor. If you use chips, I would soak them in water for at least 2 hours before, but if you are prepared, soak the chips overnight. If you use chunks, you can basically just toss a few pieces on top of the coals. Pretty easy. Selecting which type of wood to use is important.
I'm typically an oak fan. I like oak because it burns very cleanly with just a touch of oak/smoke flavor. Many BBQ Bros are big fans of hickory or mesquite. I don't really like using either of those types of woods because I think that those woods aren't as clean burning and can produce an overpowering flavor. I believe that the smoke should be an element of the flavor and not the entire flavor.
A common mistake that people make when they are grilling is cooking directly over the coals. If you have a cheaper grill, this is a large mistake. The fat from the food will drip down on the coals and will cause flare ups to happen. If you press the coals to one side and cook in the other, your food will be better.
Enough about coal and fire. Seasoning. Don't be scared to season your meat. Some meats only need a little help. Steak for instance. All a good steak really needs is fresh cracked sea salt and fresh cracked pepper. That's it. Let the steak speak for itself. No need to put makeup on a natural beauty.
Chicken and pork are a different story. People, for some reason, are very scared or nervous about applying too much seasoning to meat. Don't be. Apply a decent dusting of whatever you are going to season your meat with. For example, one of my favorite rubs is chili, onion, garlic, and coffee grounds. Just kinda shake it on there. You don't need to measure. Just do it. It feels good. Once it is on there, rub it around a bit. Experiment with the amount of seasoning that you apply to your meat. Use different spices. See what works and what doesn't. Your palette is different than mine.
Get a good meat thermometer. A good thermometer is critical when you are dealing with meat. Nothing is worse than over cooked and dry chicken, well nothing except undercooked diarrhea inducing chicken. Dont you give your guests diarrhea, you son of a bitch.
One last thing, dont rush the process. Drink a few beers. Let the coals get nice and ashy before you put the food on the grill. Backyard cooking is the absolute best type of cooking and you should really enjoy the process. Post what you cook this weekend on twitter and use the hashtag #BBQTwitter so we can see what you are up to. USA USA USA!