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The Heat – Indirect-Heat Grilling With Charcoal

The grill is transformed into a oven for indirect-heat grilling, which utilizes low heat and a cover to envelop foods in heat on all sides. Smoke-scented air circulates around large pieces of food, resulting in juicy, aromatic meats and poultry with a golden brown exterior.

Ignite coals using a chimney starter. When fully lit, dump the coals in the fire bed. If needed, pour in more coals; the new coals will ignite from the heat of the already-lit coals.

Arrange the coals into 2 equal piles on either side of the fire bed and place an foil drip pan in the center, leaving the middle of the grill without heat.  The drip pan sits below the food to collect the dripping juices and fat, preventing flare-ups.  Pour water or other flavorful liquid into the pan, and replace the rack with its handles over the coals.

For even cooking, tie or truss large cuts of meat or whole birds before grilling.  Place the food in the center of the grill rack directly over the drip pan, and cover the grill.  You may need to turn the food or rotate it for even cooking. Just as there are hot spots in your kitchen oven, there may be areas of higher heat in the covered grill.

If you are going to cook food for longer than an hour, add charcoal through the holes under the handles as needed to maintain the temperature (breaking up large chunks of hardwood charcoal, if necessary). Some grills come with hinged cooking racks. Position the hinged areas over the coals and add coals as needed during cooking.