How to set up a charcoal grill for indirect cooking

Indirect cooking is one of those indispensable techniques for turning out fabulous food.  It just so happens that it is also easy to do.

Indirect grilling is the method to use when grilling larger cuts of meat, for slow cooking, or even baking.  The secret is to keep the food far enough from the blazing heat to keep it from scorching the outside while leaving the middle raw.

This video show how to set up a kettle style charcoal grill for indirect grilling.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Using a chimney starter, or the ol’ pile ’em up technique, light a batch of charcoal.
  • Make two mounds of coals, one on each side of the grill.  You could also use charcoal baskets but they aren’t necessary.
  • Place a foil pan between the mounds of coals to catch drippings and to act as a barrier to protect your food from the heat of the fire.
  • Add a handful of wood chips to each mound of coals to add extra flavor.  This step is completely optional, but I recommend at least giving it a try.  (I used these this time.)
  • Place the grate on the grill.  Make sure it is clean and oiled to prevent sticking.
  • Add your food above the foil pan in the center of the grill.
  • Place the lid on your grill with the vents directly between the mounds of coals.  This promotes even air flow and will help both sides cook evenly.

Once you’ve mastered the skill of indirect grilling, you’ll be able to slow smoke ribs, make pulled pork, cook a perfect tenderloin, and even bake a cake!

Side note: The food shown in the video is Turkey Pastrami.  It’s really easy to make and a good test of your indirect grilling skills.  If you’d like to give it a try, the recipe is available here.

What indirect grilling adventures have you tried?  Do you have any tips to share that get you even better results?

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About Raun Lauterbach

Optimistic realist, life enthusiast, outdoor cook, Midwest traveler, husband, father... Follow me: Twitter | Facebook | Get updates in your email
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