Indirect grilling- the INDIRECT APPROACH
The next time you fire up the grill, take the indirect route to perfectly cooked meats and vegetables.
To say I get stoked about grilling is an understatement—along with going to baseball games and rocking on my front porch, grilling is one of my favorite rites of summer. But every so often I want to grill something bigger than a burger and fancier than a frankfurter. That’s where indirect grilling comes into play.
With this method I can grill practically anything! So, what exactly is indirect grilling? It’s a technique that
turns your grill into an outdoor oven. Try it and you’ll discover just how easy it is to cook big items, such as whole chicken, pork loin, and beef tenderloin, without worrying about charred outsides and raw insides. No fancy equipment is required—just a gas grill (a charcoal grill may be used but it’s trickier).
The hot zone
Indirect grilling hinges on properly distributing and controlling the heat, so grill setup is key. First, see that your grill has at least two burners, otherwise it will be hard to maintain the required 325–400° inside. Then be sure to clean and oil the grates well, see Photos 1 & 2,
below. It’s also a good idea to place an oven thermometer inside the grill to help you keep tabs on the temperature, see Photo 3. It tends to be more accurate than the gauge on the grill lid.
Next, ignite all burners, close the lid, and preheat the grill to 500°. At this point, turn one or two burners off to
create “zones” of direct and indirect heat. These zones are the heart of indirect grilling: The unlit portion of the grill is where you’ll place the food, see Photo 4. The lit portion will maintain the temperature inside the grill. However, whenever you open the lid, check the thermometer and adjust the flames as needed to keep the temperature on an even keel.
Preheat & clean
Food is less likely to stick to a clean grill. And the grates are easier to clean when they’re hot, so preheat the grill to high, and then scrape with a grill brush.
Oil the grates
After cleaning the grates, it’s essential to oil them to prevent ripping and tearing. Dip a paper towel in vegetable oil, then lightly brush over the grates.
Temp the grill
Indirect grilling requires you to diligently monitor the temperature—anything between 325–400° is fine.
An oven thermometer placed at the back of the grill will help you gauge.
Create zones of heat
On grills with 3 or more burners, turn off the center section(s), leaving flames just around the sides. (On 2-burner grills, turn off 1 burner.) Once temperature drops to 400°, place food over the unlit portion.