Every griller knows how important the heat from the burner or the charcoal is to that perfect steak – and to be honest, the beautiful part about grilling is the simplicity. But for those who want to expand their grilling horizons – you’ll be richly rewarded if you understand the different approaches to heat, as described below. And remember: whether you use charcoal or gas grills, direct or indirect heat – always grill with the lid down!
To grill using Direct Heat, place your food on the grill directly over your grill’s source of heat. Turn the food once, when you are halfway through the total grilling time. DO NOT FLIP OUT!! I’m not a fan of multiple turns or flips – this result in unnecessary heat/cool cycles and produces inconsistent results. Not good. Anyway, Direct Heat is best used for foods with total grill times of 20-25 minutes or less, such as steaks, chicken breast, sausages, brauts and the like – not to mention your grilled veggies.
When you think indirect heat, think convection oven, but with way more flavor and way more fun!!! Heat rises from the heat source and bounces off the grill lid and surfaces, slowly and evenly cooking food from all sides. To grill using indirect heat, make sure food is not placed directly over your grill’s heat source. With charcoal this can be accomplished by placing charcoal under both sides of the charcoal grate. I like to separate the sides by placing a drip pan in the middle. On a gas grill, preheat the grill using all burners and once you’ve reached your target temperature, shut off your middle burner(s) directly under the food. Adjust the burners on each side of the food accordingly.
Don’t have multiple burners??? No worries – check out ‘Grill Gear’ section for the necessary upgrades you need my friend!
I like to use indirect heat when I’m doing foods with more than 20-25 minutes of grilling time. If you use indirect heat, you’ll soon find that doing whole chickens, turkeys, beef roasts, pork roasts and ribs becomes a tender and juicy snap.
DO NOT FLIP YOUR LID! – Ok, this may be a little harsh, feel free to open the lid to baste, and to check for doneness, but otherwise keep that lid closed, valuable heat gets lost and throws off your cooking time every time that lid pops!
Whatever method you deploy – be sure to tell us your grilling stories, share your secrets if you want, including pictures of your grilling spread on the Grill Nation forums!
Until next time,
“Gimme Fuel Gimme Fire – It’s The Grill That I Desire”