Bring the Heat: Direct vs. Indirect Grilling

Many recipes for the grill will note whether the food should be cooked with direct or indirect grilling, but what does that mean exactly?

Direct grilling is when you cook the food directly over the heat source, while indirect grilling involves cooking food next to the heat source or in an area of the grill with no direct heat under it.

Direct grilling provides more intense heat and faster cooking times, so it's best for foods that cook quickly, like vegetables or thinner cuts of meat.

Indirect grilling uses convection heat to cook food more gently and thoroughly without burning, so it's ideal for larger, thicker cuts of meat that require longer cook times.

Understanding the difference between direct and indirect grilling methods allows you to choose the best technique for the foods you are cooking.

Tips for Cooking with Charcoal

Many backyard grill masters will simply dump charcoal into the base of the grill and light it up. But did you know there are specific ways you can arrange your charcoal to create heat patterns that will best cook your food?

When we say grilling is a science, we mean it! 

As you can see in the infographic below, there are different ways to arrange your charcoal, depending on how your food needs cooked.

  • Direct Heat: the closest to the "dumping method" you can get.
  • Two-Zone Direct: basically the dumping method, but only in half the grilling space. The non-charcoal half is used for indirect-heat cooking.
  • Two-Zone & Ring of Fire: different shapes, same concept: indirect-heat cooking, while still cooking evenly throughout.

Many recipes will note whether or not a certain food should be cooked over direct or indirect heat, but if its not specified, here's a helpful article by The Kitchn.

Direct vs. Indirect Heat on the Grill Infographic

Grill Better with Grillight!

If you're planning on grilling at night, check out our LED grill tools that help you see the color of your food no matter what the lighting conditions are.
Older Post
Newer Post

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

Close (esc)


Use this popup to embed a mailing list sign up form. Alternatively use it as a simple call to action with a link to a product or a page.

Age verification

By clicking enter you are verifying that you are old enough to consume alcohol.


Shopping Cart

Your cart is currently empty.
Shop now