I've tried many methods but in the end, I ended up just simply taking list of jouyou kanji by grades and then learning them using my own methods I've come up with instead of following a book or so.
For each kanji, I investigate it (using Jim Breen's wwwjdic kanji dictionary), if it contains unknown radicals or looks otherwise weird I check it's etymology at www.kanjinetworks.com and then I just check stroke order if required and insert it in my Anki (flashcard program) with meaning in english, on-yomi and kun-yomi readings which I set out to remember by heart. Around week after learning kanji, I also check few actual words using it for each reading and add them in my flashcard program too for remembering.
I'm not even trying to gather really big vocabulary at this point. Currently my plan is first to know around 1000 kanji and then to start reading japanese texts much more which is the best way to pick up the words and come to understand their meanings rather than learning-from-dictionary approach.
This is probably pretty time-consuming method, though. If you want to learn the language fast and use less time studying, a book may be better and faster approach. You can always study the kanji more in-depth later, too.