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Grilling Greats from a Grilling Great

Meat guru and award-winning cookbook author Bruce Aidells shares his grilling secrets and best recipes for the top five grill classics: chicken, pork chops, steak, ribs, and of course, burgers.

Fine Cooking Issue 112
Photos: Scott Phillips
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Set Up an Indirect Grill Fire

If I’ve learned anything in all my years of grilling, it’s that successful grilling starts with an indirect grill fire. Preparing the fire so there are hot zones (direct heat) and a cool zone (indirect heat) gives you a fail-safe setup: You can get grill marks and a nice sear by cooking over direct heat (where the fire is right below the food) and then move the food to indirect heat (where the fire is off to the side), so it can cook through without burning. Indirect heat is also handy for combatting flare-ups. Here’s how I like to set up my fire:

For an indirect charcoal grill fire, ignite the charcoal. Once it’s burning well, bank the coals to one side or split and bank the coals against two opposite sides of the grill. The part of the grate not above the coals is your indirect heat (cool) zone.

For an indirect gas grill fire, heat the grill with all burners on medium; then turn off one or more of the burners. The grate over the turned-off burners is your indirect heat (cool) zone. Adjust the active burner(s) to achieve the required temperature.

Extra: Get our Test Kitchen tips for preparing an indirect grill fire.

Bruce’s Grilling Greats  

Bourbon-and-Vanilla-Brined Pork Chops
Bacon Burgers with Bacon-Onion-Balsamic Jam
Rib-Eye Steaks Rubbed with Coffee and Cocoa
Five-Spice Chicken with Hoisin-Maple Glaze
Margarita-Glazed Baby Back Ribs


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