Hey there everyone. This is the second installment to our barbeque 101 class. Last time we talked about the misconceptions and basics of barbequing. Today I’d like to talk about some of the different ways you can use your barbeque to cook a meal because, believe it or not, there are many ways to grill your food.
First, let’s talk about direct grilling. Whenever people think about barbequing, chances are they’re using this method. To directly grill food means you place it on the grill over the heat source and occasionally flip it so that both sides of the food get cooked evenly. This also comes with the benefit of being able to sear meat by caramelizing the juices when it hits the grates, which also gives barbequed food its iconic texture. However, direct grilling should only be done on foods that don’t take very long to cook. Chicken, steaks, fish, burgers, hot dogs, and veggies are your best options because they can easily be turned when one side finishes cooking. Also, it’s very important not to directly grill fatty foods, as the fat causes the flames to leap up and can burn your meal. In the event of flare-ups, the first thing that you should do is to decrease the amount of air flow going to the grill by closing the lid to help to extinguish the flare-up. If this proves to be unsuccessful, try indirect cooking by turning off the burners directly under the product (for gas grills) or by rearranging the coals on a charcoal grill to one area away of the grill and ensuring that the food is on the opposite area.
Speaking of indirect grilling, this method needs to be utilized by more backyard grillers to achieve better results. Indirect grilling occurs when you place your food on a higher level on the grill so it’s out of reach of the direct heat source, but can still feel the heat, or by turning off the burners directly under the food and using your grill similarly to an oven. For this method, you’ll want to cover the grill so the hot air gets trapped inside. When this happens, it cooks the food all over and helps speed up the internal cooking. And while it’s cooking, you can put a drip pan underneath your meat to collect any dripping for use in gravies. However, this method is very slow, and should only be done on bigger meals that need a long time to cook, such as ribs, full chickens, ducks, and turkeys, to ensure that food is fully cooked and remains juicy – not charred and dry. This is especially important, since bacteria can live inside meat until a minimum internal temperature of 140 degrees Farenheit (75 degrees Celsius) is reached.
Check out this video on how to cook a whole chicken on indirect heat, produced by Lowes Home Improvement. Enjoy and happy grilling!