Cooking over direct heat and indirect heat are two common methods of grilling, and each has its own benefits and ideal uses.
Direct heat grilling involves placing the food directly over the heat source, whether it’s charcoal, gas, or wood. This method is best for quick-cooking foods like steaks, burgers, and vegetables, as it allows for high heat and a crispy exterior. Direct heat cooking is also great for achieving grill marks and a charred exterior. When using direct heat, it’s important to keep an eye on the food and move it around as needed to prevent burning.
Indirect heat grilling involves placing the food away from the direct heat source and cooking it with the lid closed. This method is best for slow-cooking foods like large cuts of meat, whole chickens, and ribs. Indirect heat allows the food to cook more evenly and prevents burning. It also allows for a smoky flavor to be infused into the food, as wood chips or chunks can be added to the fire for smoke flavor. When using indirect heat, it’s important to monitor the temperature inside the grill and adjust the heat source as needed to maintain a consistent temperature.
In summary, direct heat grilling is best for quick-cooking foods that need high heat and a crispy exterior, while indirect heat grilling is best for slow-cooking foods that need to cook evenly and absorb smoky flavors. Depending on what you’re cooking, you may use both direct and indirect heat during a grilling session.