To grill the most succulent food, you'll need to choose between direct and indirect grilling methods. Here are guidelines to help you decide which to choose.

Updated: February 17, 2017

What Is Indirect Grilling?

Place a drip pan right underneath where the food will be set.
  • Indirect grilling positions the food on the grill rack away from or to the side of the heat source.
  • Grill is covered.

How Does Indirect Grilling Work?

  • Similar to an oven, heat inside the grill reflects off the lid and other interior surfaces.
  • Food is cooked from all sides (eliminating need to turn it).

Foods to Use for Indirect Grilling

  • Larger foods that take longer to cook such as ribs.

Tips for Indirect Grilling

  • Place a drip pan, such as a heavy-gauge disposable aluminum pan, under the food to catch drippings that could cause flare-ups.
  • Use long-handled tongs to place drip pan.
  • Add hot water to drip pans to keep drippings from burning.
  • Can use other liquid, such as apple juice or beer, to add flavor and moisture.
  • For indirect grilling, heat the coals until they are covered with gray ash.
  • Don't peek! The heat and smoke will escape and lengthen cooking time.

What Is Direct Grilling?

  • Food is placed on grill directly over heat source.
  • Can be covered or uncovered based on manufacturer's directions.

Foods to Use for Direct Grilling

  • More tender meat cuts such as rib eye steaks.
  • Thinner meat and poultry such as boneless chicken breast.
  • Smaller quick-cooking (under 30 minutes) vegetables such as zucchini slices.

Direct Grilling Tip

  • Turn food only once for most even cooking.
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