Direct Vs Indirect heat-Hamburgers on a grill

Direct Vs Indirect Grilling The Basics Of Grilling

Direct and indirect Grilling is the two grilling methods you use to cook your food on the grill. We will discuss direct vs indirect grilling and how they are different from each other. The two are combined a lot to get the best of both worlds.

Direct Vs Indirect Grilling-Steak on a grill

The main difference between direct and indirect grilling is where the food sits compared to where the heat source is located. We will explain the difference between grilling with direct or indirect heat. There is a big difference between direct heat and indirect heat when grilling, and knowing which to use influences how the food turns out.    

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What Is Direct Grilling

Direct grilling is a high heat technique to prepare small, thin foods directly over the heat of the grill. Foods are directly exposed to the fire in a direct grilling method, which is perfect for certain cuts of meat like Steaks, Hamburgers, hotdogs, and pork chops, just to name a few. Most Vegetables, seafood, lean beef, and pork tenderloin work best when cooked with direct heat.

When using this method it is normally done with a gas grill or charcoal grill.

Direct Vs Indirect Grilling-Charcoal spread out on grill

Using a Charcoal grill basically, the coals are spread out in an even layer to make out what is referred to as a single zone fire and the food is grilled over the fire evenly.

On a gas grill you just turn on the burner for the side you are going to cook the food on and place the food on that side. Cooking over the heat directly.

Direct Vs Indirect Grilling-Hamburgers on a grill

If looking for a great Charcoal or Gas grill check this page for great starter grills.

What Is Indirect Grilling

Indirect Grilling enables slow cooking. One of the best features of indirect heat grilling is a lot of times it eliminates the need to rotate the food during cooking. Which makes it so you only have to check on it once in a while.

Direct Vs Indirect Grilling-Ribs on grill

For foods that require a slow heating process, the indirect heat method is normally used. Indirect grilling can be a good way to prepare thicker cuts such as ribs, briskets, pork shoulder, and large roasts that benefit from long, slow cooking. Foods such as whole chickens and turkeys are also more examples of foods that would burn on the outside before reaching the proper internal temp if cooked over direct heat on the grill.

One thing to remember when slow cooking as with any cooking, make sure you have enough fuel. If needed make sure to keep an eye on whatever type of fuel you are using to keep your grill at a constant temperature. It is no fun running out of fuel on a long cook and ruining the cook.  

When cooking with indirect heat you should avoid looking at your food unnecessarily, as every time you lift the lid, heat can escape and your food takes longer to get up to the proper internal temp.

How To Use Inderect Heat On Your Grill

Using a charcoal grill, you want to position the coals all to one side of the grill and place the food on the other side. In this way, the food will be getting its heat as the heat rolls around the grill giving you indirect heat

Direct Vs Indirect Grilling-Separating the charcoal in grill

If your charcoal grill is large enough you could also place the coals evenly on each side. Leaving the center clear of coals. You would then place the food in the center.

On a gas grill, Depending on the size of your grill. A 2-3 burner for example turn on 1 outside burner, on a 4-5 burner turn on 2 outside burners (next to each other). The food is placed on the unlit side.

Direct Vs Indirect Grilling-Hamburgers and kabobs on a grill

Combo Method

Combo grilling methods are particularly useful for thick pieces of meat. You may be wondering if you can use a combination of direct and indirect grilling. Direct and indirect methods can be used together to get the best of both worlds.

There are a couple of ways this can be done.

As with a lot of meat (Steaks, pork chops,). I will sear it under direct heat and then move it to the other side of the grill (no coals or heat on this side) for the remainder of the cook. This helps to make sure everything is up to the proper internal temp and gives it the grilled crust we all love.

Direct Vs Indirect Grilling-pork chops on a grill

The other way is basically the same thing. It’s called a reverse sear. You cook on indirect heat until you reach your target temp, normally 4°-5° degrees short of the desired temp. You then place it on direct heat to give it a quick sear and finish it off.

Finishing Up

As of late, I have been doing a lot more indirect grilling. I have even been doing a lot more experimenting on foods I would normally use the direct heat method on. Both have their plus and both will create an outstanding taste

Direct vs Indirect grilling whats your preferred method?

Any Question Or Comments would love to hear them

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