Indirect Grilling Method

To barbecue on a grill, the indirect grilling method is the way to go. It's especially easy when using a gas grill, but charcoal grills can cook indirectly too, with a bit more effort.

Temperature Guidelines

The temperature range guidelines shown here are what I use to define Low to High indirect grilling temperatures. If your grill isn't able to reach the high or low ends of the range, just stay as close as you can, and keep the temperature steady.

Low225ºF - 250ºF
Medium Low250ºF - 300ºF
Medium300ºF - 350ºF
Medium High350ºF - 425ºF
High425ºF - 500ºF

The Grill Thermometer

Most gas grills have a grill thermometer mounted through the cover, but most of them are right square in the middle. That's fine if the grill has three or more burners, and you grill in the middle with the outer burners going. But if your grill has only two burners, the food will be off to one a thermometer should be mounted to one side also.

Install the grill thermometer three to six inches from the end and about three to four inches above the level of the grate. (Measurements depend on grill size.)

When mounting a grill thermometer on a kettle grill lid, locate it three to four inches above the grate and a couple inches off to one side of the lid vent. The lid vent is positioned over the food when grilling indirectly, so having the thermometer close to the vent will place it just right.

Indirect Grilling

OK. You know the indirect grilling temperature guidelines, and your grill has a shiny new thermometer. Let's get to grillin'!

Gas Grill

A gas grill has to have at least two separately controlled burners to be an indirect cooking machine. Simply light one of the burners, leaving the other one turned off. The food goes over the unlit burner.

With the burner on high, preheat the grill, cover closed, to the desired temperature. Place the food inside, close the cover, and watch that temperature. After a bit of practice, you'll get a feel for adjusting the flame.

If your grill has three or more burners, you can light the outer burners and place the food in the middle. Use this method when grilling foods requiring high cooking temperatures.

Charcoal Grill

In a charcoal grill, the coals need to be banked to one side of the grill. In larger grills, the coals can be divided in half and banked to two sides, opposite each other. It works well placing bricks on the charcoal grate to keep the coals in position. The bricks will also support the drip pan. Check out the picture and you'll see just what I mean.

When placing charcoal in the grill, pre-light it in a charcoal chimney. Use 20 to 40 briquettes in a smaller grill, and 40 to 60 in a larger one. More briquettes equals higher temperature.

Replenish the coals every hour, adding 10 to 20 pre-lit briquettes to the grill. Make adjustments to the lower and upper vents to fine tune the temperature. And depending on the outdoor temperature, you may need to add fewer or more briquettes at the start and at each addition.

Once the skill is mastered, indirect grilling is a cooking method that will enable you to make mouthwatering slow cooked barbecued meats. And that's not all. I have used this method to bake killer brownies. No lie. And they were a good thing!

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