Direct vs. Indirect Heat When Grilling. Is One Better Than the Other?

Direct vs. Indirect Heat When Grilling. Is One Better Than the Other?

in News

If you have dreams of becoming the grill master of your household, then it’s important to understand direct and indirect heat and how it can help you achieve peak deliciousness. Direct heat cooks your food quickly at a high temperature, putting your food directly over the flames. Think AHBEEF burgers and skirt steak. On the other hand, indirect heat is low and slow, turning your grill into an outdoor oven or smoker. It keeps longer-cooking items like AHBEEF brisket and ribs away from flames to prevent burning.

So, which is better, and how should you cook your AHBEEF cuts of meat? Let’s dive into some of the details.

Direct Heat

Direct heat is as advertised and what most people think of when you think of grilling. Food is placed directly over the heat source – charcoal or burners on a gas grill – and cooked with the lid off for a few minutes on each side at high heat. This method sears beef and creates that golden-brown color with a crisp exterior. It is the only way to achieve those signature grill marks. This is the ideal method when grilling AHBEEF burgers, skirt steak, fajita meat, kabobs, or reverse searing
a steak. Turning your food halfway through the cooking process will help you achieve consistent texture throughout the cut. 

How to Grill with Direct Heat

If using a gas grill, turn all burners to the highest heat setting and close the lid. After 10 to 15 minutes of pre-heating, adjust the burners to the right temperature for the cut of meat, and then grill away. Use the pyramid style or a chimney starter to prep the charcoal for a charcoal grill. When the coals are covered in white ash, create an even layer, then begin the grilling process.

Indirect Heat

Indirect heat is generally used for food, which takes longer than 20 minutes. Two heat zones are created on the grill: one hot and one with no direct heat. The food cooks at a lower temperature for extended periods since it’s not in direct contact with the flame. This method is done with the lid on to trap the heat. You can add wood chips to infuse extra flavor and turn your grill into a smoker. This method is best for large pieces of meat, like AHBEEF brisket, roasts, and ribs. If the word barbecue comes to mind, you’re right on track. Indirect heat is ideal for turning tough cuts of meat into tender bites. Because this is more of a roasting method, turning your beef cut halfway through is unnecessary.

How to Grill with Indirect Heat

When using a gas grill, turn on half the burners, close the lid, and pre-heat for 10-15 minutes. Monitor the temperature and control using your dials so the grill doesn’t get too hot or cool off. Place meat over unlit burners when you’re ready to cook. For a charcoal grill, place hot coals on one side of the grill and
place a drip pan on the other side. Place the AHBEEF cut of meat over the drip pan and replace the lid to cook.

Cooking with Both Direct and Indirect Heat

Using a combination of both direct and indirect heat is the best of both worlds. For example, when reverse-searing an AHBEEF steak, use indirect heat to start the cut of the meat, then finish over direct heat to achieve the perfect grill marks and golden-brown color. Combo cooking is an excellent option for an AHBEEF ribeye, KC strip, or Delmonico steak.