Grilling with indirect heat is very much like cooking in your kitchens oven. If you look in your oven when the heat is on you will notice that there are no direct flames on the bottom. This is what we want to accomplish inside your grill.
This is the most effective way to grill larger foods such as whole chickens that would require constant attention if cooked over direct flame to prevent burning. It is also helpful to have an indirect heat zone when cooking multiple pieces of meat to different levels of doneness.
Indirect Heat in a Gas Grill:
If you have a multiple burner grill simply turn off one or more burners while leaving at least one on, to create and indirect heat zone. If you have a limited amount of space or only a single burner you can still use indirect heat by placing a thick metal pan (I like to use an old oven broiler pan) onto your heat shields or lava rocks, never directly onto the burner(s). Fill the pan with water to keep it cool, and be sure that you leave room around all sides of the pan for the gas to escape if necessary. A thin metal or tinfoil pan will not cut it, they will warp when high heat is applied.
Indirect Heat with a Charcoal Grill:
Place the hot coals off to one side of your grill and your food on the other. You may also use a thick metal pan filled with water and placed on top of the coals directly under your food.
The important thing here is that you want the heat to be able to circulate freely around all sides of the food. If your heat source is located on a single side of your food you will want to rotate it halfway through your cooking process.
About the author: Mike is the owner of 4thegrill.com, a Certified Food Safety Professional and KCBS member.
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