& Techniques of the BBQ Guru : Indirect Heat
is one of the ways in which to cook food on your gas
or charcoal grill. In general you should use indirect
heat when cooking larger cuts of meat. We use indirect
heat when cooking our favorite BBQ cuts, such as . .
. ribs, pork butt, brisket, chicken, turkey, beef roasts,
using indirect heat, your goal is to never have any
part of the meat directly over flames or charcoal. You
can only do indirect cooking with a charcoal or gas
grill that has a cover. In this respect, it acts very
much like a convection oven . . . the heat swirls around
the inside of the grill and the meat is cooked from
all angles. This also eliminates the need to 'flip'
or turn your meat during the cooking process.
ideal temps for cooking 'low and slow' are 225º
- 275ºF with chicken going as high as 300º - 325ºF.
You will also want to place a water pan inside the cooking
chamber. This will help to moderate the heat and will
keep the cooking chamber moist. The best way to monitor
these temps is with an oven thermometer. I use the kind
that has a 3 - 4 foot cord. On one end is an 'L-shaped'
probe and the other end connects to a digital display
unit. The beauty of this type is you do not have to
lift the lid. Every time that lid comes off, you will
be adding 15 minutes to your cooking time. Honest!!
Been there, done that!
how exactly do we accomplish indirect heat and keep
those temps down? Lets explore first charcoal
grills and then gas grills.
are actually two methods you can use for charcoal grills.
Lets look at each one individually.
the coals to one side of your grill or banked along
the 'back' wall. Then you will place the meat on the
'front' part of your grill. Now, lets place our
drip pan and water pan. Directly in front of the coals,
on the same level as the coals we will place the drip
pan. The idea is to catch the juices from the meats
in this pan.
the grill level, directly above the coals, we place
a water pan. Fill this, after placing in position, about
half full of water. The idea here is to baffle the heat
and add some moisture.
in front of this, and above the drip pan, will be the
meat you are cooking. Now, if you are using a thermometer,
it should be placed somewhere between the water pan
and as close to the meat as possible, but not touching
this method, you will pile your charcoal around the
outer rim of the grill. The drip pan is placed in the
middle of the charcoal and doubles as a water pan. Add
water to your drip pan in this method. The meat will
be placed above the drip pan and in the middle of the
grill. The thermometer again should be placed as close
as possible to the meat.
other trick to keep the temps down is in the procedure
to light the charcoal. Only light 1/2 of the charcoal.
You will need to use a charcoal chimney for this. Once
these are completely ashed over, spread them on top
of the unlit briquettes you have already placed in the
grill. This accomplishes two things . . . You will not
have all the charcoal burning at one time and it will
greatly extend your cooking time on one load of charcoal.
When we use this method in our smokers, we get 12 -
18 hour burn times on one load of charcoal!
if you would like to add some smoke flavor to the meat,
you will need to add some wood chips. The easiest way
to do this is to simply throw a handful of chips directly
onto the hot coals. However, you will have to soak these
chips overnight . . . this will prevent them from flaming
and burning too quickly. You only need to add a little
smoke at the very beginning of the cook. Once meat reaches
a temp of 140ºF it no longer absorbs smoke flavor. That
point is usually about 1 - 2 hours into the cook, depending
on the temps you are cooking at. A word of caution .
. . start small with just a little and work up to your
flavor preference. You may need to add more chips every
much the same procedures as Method 1 above can be followed
for gas grills. In this case, just light one burner
. . . either the burner along the side or the back of
your grill. You will need to experiment with your particular
grill settings to get your temps in the 225º -
275ºF range. Once again you want to keep the meat from
being directly over the flame. One other difference
. . . there is no need for a drip pan, but you should
still use a water pan to keep the environment moist
and the heat down.
smoking with a gas grill, you will need to buy a smoker
box or use foil to wrap your soaked chips. Poke a few
holes on the top and bottom of the
foil to allow for some airflow. Place the box or foil
as close as possible to the flame. To get the smoke
going you will have to turn your grill on high. Wait
for the smoke to start and then back down your heat.
Team Double Smoke
Taylor is know as the BBQ Guru on the RecipeGoldmine
website for his expertise in the art of the Barbecue
and Smoking. Over the last twenty years barbecuing has
caught on fast in the UK but for most of us it is still
an unexplored form of cuisine - a few chops and some
With the help of Kevin Hub-UK
is hoping to bring to you a series of articles and recipes
over the summer which will change your way of life and
bring great pleasure to you, your family and friends
as you enjoy the long summer evenings.
Taylor is a regular contributor at RecipeGoldmine -
here to visit the website.
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