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Home : Tips & Techniques : BBQ - DeMystifying The Direct And Indirect Cooking Methods

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BBQ - DeMystifying The Direct And Indirect Cooking Methods

Contributed by: News Canada

(NC) - Virtually all cooking on gas and/or charcoal grills can be divided into one of two cooking methods: Direct or Indirect. As the names imply, the difference between the two is whether or not the food being cooked is placed directly over the coals or gas flame.

The Indirect Method:
This method is used for larger cuts of meat and other foods that require longer cooking time at lower temperatures such as whole turkey, brisket, chicken pieces, ribs and other roasts. Foods are cooked by reflected heat, as in a convection oven. This allows faster cooking and juicier meats without having to turn the food. This method can ONLY be used on a covered grill. In the Indirect method, food is placed between the heat source ­ never directly above lit gas burners or charcoal. Remember, Indirect cooking is a no-peek cooking method because every time you lift the lid, heat escapes and can increase cooking time.

The secret to charcoal Indirect cooking is to add briquets to the fire every hour, in order to keep the fire burning and maintain an even cooking temperature. Charcoal briquets can easily be added to the fire by dropping additional briquets through the opening by the handles of each side of the cooking grate.

Charcoal Briquet Guide for the Indirect Method

<%body_font%>Diameter of grill in inches <%body_font%>Briquets needed on each side for first hour <%body_font%>Briquets to add to each side every hour
<%body_font%>37-1/2 <%body_font%>75 <%body_font%>22
22-1/2 <%body_font%>25 <%body_font%>8
<%body_font%>18-1/2 <%body_font%>20 <%body_font%>7
<%body_font%>14-1/2 <%body_font%>15 <%body_font%>6

The Direct/Indirect Method:
This is literally a combination of the two cooking methods. It is used to sear foods over high heat before cooking them slowly by Indirect heat. Simply place food directly over the heat source until well-seared, generally only a few minutes, and then move it to the area of the grill that is set up for Indirect heat, generally the centre of the cooking grate, and complete cooking. This method is delicious for foods such as chops and chicken pieces which will be browned on the outside and thoroughly cooked with a juicy, tender interior.



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