Lesson 4: The Two-Zone Fire
Whether you’re already an accomplished griller or just a novice, grilling cookbook author Fred Thompson will turn you into a grill master in ten short episodes.
Novice grillers tend to blast everything they cook with a uniform blast of heat. This works well for burgers and steaks, but when you want to go beyond that, it’s time to learn how to make a two-zone fire that lets you use two methods of grilling: direct and indirect.
Every grill has hot and cool spots, and this is actually a good thing-it helps you control the cooking of your food better. In fact, it lets you create two zones on your grill: one for direct cooking, and one for indirect cooking.
|Grilled Ginger-Sesame Pork Chops with Pineapple & Scallions||Grilled Chicken and Potatoes with Tomato and Cucumber Salad||Apple-Bacon Barbecued Ribs (Gas Grill Version)|
The Direct Method
Direct cooking is what most of us refer to as grilling: you put the meat right over the gas burner or the hot coals. It’s best for foods like steaks, hamburgers, boneless chicken breasts, and fish fillets-anything that’s thin and quick-cooking.
- To direct cook on a charcoal grill, keep the coals in the center of the grill and place the food directly over them.
- To direct cook on a gas grill, simply place the food directly over the burners that are turned on.
|Grill-Roasted Honey Barbecued Chicken||Pepper-Crusted Grill-Roasted Beef with Rosemary Chimichurri||Bourbon-and-Vanilla-Brined Pork Chops|
The Indirect Method
If you tried to cook larger cuts, like roasts, ribs, and whole chickens and turkeys this way, they would burn the outside before the center is done, so that’s where indirect cooking comes in.
- To do indirect cooking on a charcoal grill, bank your coals on one side of the grill, and put your food on the other side, away from the coals. Depending on what you’re cooking, you may also want to put a disposable foil tray. Keep the lid closed, and the heat that builds up inside the grill is what does the cooking-you’re turning your grill into an oven.
- To do indirect cooking on a gas grill, you basically mimic the same setup, but how you do it depends on how many burners your grill has. For a three-burner grill with burners running side to side, turn on the front burner, and place the food towards the back.
Many recipes that use indirect heat also get a blast of direct heat at some point. This is sometimes referred to as combination cooking. Fred’s Buttermilk-Brined Chicken Breasts, for instance, start out over direct heat to give the chicken a nice sear, then move to indirect heat until they’re cooked all the way through. Fred’s Baby Back Ribs, on the other hand, get hours of low, slow cooking over indirect heat, with a final turn over direct heat to get some char on the meat and caramelize the sauce.
|Lesson 1: The Perfect Burger
||Lesson 2: Great Steaks on the Grill||Lesson 3: How to Start a Charcoal Fire|
|Lesson 4: The Two-Zone Fire||Lesson 5: How to Grill Bone-In Chicken Parts||Lesson 6: How to Add Smoke to a Gas Grill|
|Lesson 7: How to Grill Fish||Lesson 8: Lump vs. Briquette Charcoal||Lesson 9: Slow-Smoked Pork Shoulder|
|Lesson 10: Real Barbecued Ribs|