#3. Create Grill Zones to Control the Heat
I don’t remember my dad ever teaching me about grill zones when I was a kid watching him burn and overcook just about everything he put on the grill. God bless him but I remember a lot of what came off the grill as being a little too charred, a little well done and having a distinctive lighter fluid taste.
He would get his fire hot with Kingsford charcoal briquets, throw the meat on the hot part of the grill and cook until done. No heat zones required here but now we know that there is a better way.
Doesn’t matter if you are using a cheap charcoal grill or an overprices stainless steel gas grill, most experts will tell you using a 2-Zone setup is the way to go when grilling. All this means is you set up your grill to have a hot side for direct radiant heat and a less hot side for indirect convection heat. Often the indirect convection heat side is no heat at all.
Depending on what you’re cooking, you may start on the direct heat side for a quick sear and then finish cooking on the indirect side, think steaks, or more often you may start on the indirect heat and finish over the direct heat, think chicken and ribs.
And if you are cooking several things on the grill at the same time, some items may require a slow indirect heat so not to end up like my dad’s charred, over cooked chicken thighs but you may want to cook the vegetables on the direct heat to cook quickly.
On a gas grill, start by turning all the burners up high to get the entire grill and chamber hot and then turn off one side – left or right or front or back depending on your grill. If you are using charcoal, have all the coals on one side and one on the other side for indirect heat.
If you charcoal grill is big enough, you can set up three zones for hot, medium and low heat and really get serious about your grilling.