Direct Grilling versus Indirect Grilling
Direct (Over the Fire) Grilling and Indirect (Next to the Fire) Grilling
When most people think of grilling, they think of cooking right over the fire. This is called "direct grilling." The technique is ideal for grilling smaller items that can be cooked in less than 12 minutes — burgers, zucchini wedges, chicken breasts, shrimp and more. Done right, this technique delivers delicious results with perfect grill marks. Try using this technique for something too large, however, or with too long a cooking time, and the results can be awful. A whole chicken will be burnt on the outside before it is cooked through. The same is true for a baking potato. Larger foods need gentler, indirect heat because they must cook longer.
“Indirect grilling” could just as easily be called roasting. The food is cooked on an area of the grill with no fire below. The fire can be offset from the food to one side, or both sides or even surround the perimeter. The key is a more gentle heat that allows food to cook through without overcooking the outside. Indirect grilling is ideal for larger items that cook for more than 20 minutes — chickens, acorn squash, roasts, casseroles and more. Indirect grilling can be executed at high temperatures around 500ºF or lower temperatures around 300ºF. It can be done with or without smoke. In fact, traditional barbecue is basically indirect grilling at low temperatures with wood smoke.
The real magic happens when you combine direct and indirect heat. A nice, thick filet mignon steak can be seared off for 1 minute per side directly over a hot wood fire and then moved away from the fire to coast up to temperature with the hood closed for 20 minutes — bathed in delicious wood smoke.
Setup for Direct Grilling
Leave the Hybrid Fire Grilling Drawer(s) empty. Preheat the grill with the main burners on high and the hood closed for at least 10 minutes. Once hot (at least 500°F), clean the grill grates with a brass or stainless steel brush. Proceed with grilling. The hood may remain open after the initial pre-heat.
Place a single, dense layer of charcoal in the Hybrid Fire Grilling Drawer. Light the main burners on high and keep the hood open while the charcoal fire starts. Once the charcoal shows strong flames throughout, you can turn off the burners. For typical grilling at 500° to 600°F, wait until the flames in the charcoal have disappeared and the coals have begun to ash over. For cooler grilling temperatures, wait a little longer. For intense searing, start cooking while the flames are still evident. Layer the charcoal thinner in some areas and thicker in others for multiple temperature zones.
Setup for Indirect Grilling
Leave the Hybrid Fire Grilling Drawer(s) empty. Preheat the entire grill with the main burners on high and the hood closed for at least 10 minutes. Once hot (at least 500°F), clean the grill grates with a brass or stainless steel brush. Turn off the burners under the indirect zone. Proceed with grilling. The hood should remain closed as much as possible during cooking.
Place a single, dense layer of charcoal in one area of the Hybrid Fire Grilling Drawer(s) and leave another area empty. Light all of the main burners on high and keep the hood open while the charcoal fire starts. Once the charcoal shows strong flames, you can turn off the burners below the charcoal. Once the charcoal has settled to the desired heat level, turn off the remaining burners and proceed with cooking in the indirect zone. The hood should remain closed as much as possible during cooking.