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Grilling Guidelines

Posted in : Tips and Tricks on by : Chef Patricia

1.) Direct vs. Indirect Heat

Your most important grilling decision is, of course, what to grill. Your second-most important? What type of heat to use. Choosing the right one—direct or indirect—can have a huge impact on how your food tastes. So what’s the big difference? With direct heat, you place small, quick-cooking items, like burgers, directly over the fire. When you use indirect heat, the fire is lit under only part of the grate. Slow-cooking food, like a rack of ribs, is placed over the unlit portion and cooked covered. “The effect is similar to roasting in an oven,” says Jennifer Chandler.

Charcoal Grill

For direct heat: After preheating the grill for 10 minutes, rake the coals so they cover two-thirds of the bottom grate. The empty third is a safety zone, where you can move food that’s flaring up. Put on the top grate, place the food directly over the coals, and cook, uncovered.

For indirect heat: After preheating the grill for 10 minutes, rake the coals into two piles on opposite sides of the bottom grate. Put on the top grate, position the food over the empty space between the coals, and cook, covered. If you’re cooking for more than an hour, place a disposable aluminum pan between the coals and add an inch of water to keep drippings from burning.

Gas Grill

For direct heat: After preheating the grill for 10 minutes, position the food directly over the lit burners and cook, uncovered.

For indirect heat: After preheating the grill for 10 minutes, turn off one burner, position the food over it, and cook, covered. Once you decide between direct and indirect heat, if your grill does not have a built in thermometer, use this guideline for the temperature of your grill.