How to Create Direct and Indirect Heat Zones for Multi-Tasking on the Grill
As the summer months are upon us, it's time to wake the grill from its winter slumber. In addition to beloved crowd favorites such as hot dogs and burgers, get creative and try some new recipes on the grill this summer. Inspiration on the grill happens when you change the way you view it—less like a big flame in the backyard, and more like an outdoor oven.
Let’s put grilling in perspective: broiling in the oven is the same as grilling—heating over or under a very hot direct source of heat. Now consider the oven: an insulated box of hot air in which you bake and roast food. Eureka! The grill is not so foreign after all.
On the grill, you can broil and bake at the same time by creating direct and indirect cooking zones. This is where creativity meets the grill—learning how to successfully use different cooking zones.
How to create direct and indirect heat zones on a grill: On a gas grill: Keep two burners (or one side) on to create direct heat. The other side with two burners (or one side) off will be used as indirect heat. (Will vary based on the number of burners.)
On a charcoal grill: Rake the coals to one side. Cooking right over the coals provides direct heat. The other side of the grill serves as indirect heat.
I've created recipes that use both direct and indirect cooking zones to effectively use space on the grill. This showcases my “Meal on the Grill” concept, which allows grillers to make an entire meal at the grill without having to also run back and forth to the kitchen. Learning how to use the grill for direct and indirect zones allows you to bake and broil at the same time. For example, my Ham, Cheese and Spinach Roll-Ups utilize the grill's indirect zone to bake, while the Cheesy Bacon Avocado Grilled Chicken uses the direct zone to grill and uses indirect heat to finish the dish in the skillet. The Portobello Mushroom Pizzas are grilled over direct heat. The Cheesy Grilled Jalapeño Enchilada Dip grills the jalapeños with direct heat while the rest of the dip heats in a skillet with indirect heat.
At the end of the day, it's all about having fun while grilling, regardless of the dish. Branching out with inspired recipes will impress the neighbors and release your inner Grill Girl!