Direct And Indirect Methods Of Grilling

When grilling you can use two different methods to cook, they are direct and indirect heat. For direct heat cooking, food is placed on the cooking rack directly over the hot coals or fire. The indirect method is used for more delicate foods and for larger cuts of meat that need longer cooking times, such as when you’re barbecuing a thick roast.  The grill will always be kept covered when cooking with indirect heat.

Direct heat cooking is uncomplicated. Learning the temperature of the coals is the only real skill. If you are using a gas grill, you just need to set the heat settings at the proper level. The coals are ready when 3/4 of them are gray and coated with ash. You can check the temperature

of a charcoal grill by very carefully holding your hand just above the grilling surface and counting the number of seconds it takes before the heat becomes uncomfortable enough for you to pull your hand away.

5 seconds equals Low Heat

4 seconds equals Medium Heat

3 seconds equals Medium-High Heat

2 seconds equals High Heat

You can use the following descriptions to check cooking temperature by observing the coals:

  • When the ash coating thickens and a red glow is just visible this would equal a low heat.
  • When the coals are covered with light gray ash this would equal a medium heat.
  • When the coals have a red glow visible through the ash coating this would equal a high heat.

The proper method for indirect heat cooking on a charcoal grill is to place an equal number of charcoal briquettes on each side of the grill pan and leaving a space in the center, light the briquettes and wait until they are at cooking temperature. When you are ready to start cooking, place a drip pan between the coals and add 1/2″ of water to the pan. Place your food over the drip pan and then cover the grill. You will need to add 5 or 6 briquettes to each side of the pan as needed to maintain even heat. As a general rule, briquettes should be added every 45 minutes.

For indirect heat cooking on a dual burner gas grill, set the drip pan on the lava rocks on one side of the grill and add water to 1/2″. Preheat the other burner on high for 5-10 minutes. Turn the temperature down to medium, then put the food on the rack over the drip pan and cover the grill.

For indirect heat cooking on a single burner gas grill, preheat the grill on high for 5-10 minutes. Turn the temperature down to low, and place a large foil baking pan on the rack. You can also line half of the cooking rack with a double thickness of heavy duty foil. Place food in the pan or on the foil, cover and cook.

 

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