Knowing the difference between Direct and Indirect styles of grilling and which style complements your main course is the start to a great meal. The grill type can be gas or charcoal, while the style of grilling, Direct or Indirect, should be based on the thickness of the food and required cooking time.
How much charcoal? Start by spreading 1 layer of charcoal on bottom of grill, extending 1 to 2 inches from where food will be placed. This should be plenty of charcoal for normal grilling. Pyramid this charcoal, add lighter fluid, and start fire (leaving grate off). Charcoal must be red hot and have a thin white coating of ash, typically 20 to 30 minutes. Before grilling, use tongs to spread hot coals into a single layer once again or set up for indirect grilling. Replace grate. Add up to 8 to 10 coals every 30 minutes to add cooking time if needed (generally during Indirect Grilling).
Preheating grills at a high temperature setting helps to seal the juices of your meat when you first place the meat on the pre-heated grill. Decrease temperature or raise grill grate after sealed to insure meat is cooked thoroughly and not merely burned on the outside.
An easy method for estimating the grilling temperature is to place the palm of your hand near the level at which the food will be positioned above the heat source to see how long it can remain before being removed due to heat. If you can leave your hand above the heat source without discomfort for:
The term Barbecuing refers to an Indirect Grilling technique for cooking foods slowly for long periods of time using indirect, low-heat generated by smoldering logs or woodchips. The best temperature for barbecuing is between 200º and 300º F. If temperature rises above 300º it is considered Direct Grilling.
Prepare for grilling by spraying the grate with a no-stick cooking spray (or brush on vegetable oil), to assist with clean-up later as well as keep the food from sticking. Do this before starting the grill, when grate is cool.
On a charcoal grill, use a spray bottle filled with water to tame flames that flare up from the food drippings. If flames get out of hand on a gas grill, the safe practice is to shut the gas off until flames are extinguished and then re-light.
Cleaning the grate soon after cooking is the best way to keep it clean. If you have a grate that will fit into your self-cleaning oven you can clean your oven and grill grate at the same time. Typically, a wire brush is used to remove leftover food.