Grilling Methods and How to Use Them

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With the weather finally warming up, I was inspired to write a crash course grilling methods post.  Perhaps my post will inspire Mother Nature to get her act together and give us some decent weather here in Chicago!


  • Good for foods with longer cooking times; generally longer than 20 – 25 minutes.
  • Place food next to heat source, but not directly over it.  Ideally, the grill will have two “hot zones” and food is placed in the middle of both in a “cool zone.”
  • Best for: roasts, chicken breasts, whole chickens, ribs, delicate fish, chicken wings
I made these grilled buffalo style wings using the indirect method.  Recipe here:

I made these grilled buffalo style wings using the indirect method. Recipe here:


  • Good for foods with shorter cooking times; generally 20 – 25 minutes or less.
  • Place food directly over heat source.  Hold hand 3 – 4 inches above heat source and count how long you can keep it there before it gets too hot.  A proper temperature for direct grilling will allow you to hold your hand over the heat source for 4 – 7 seconds.  It will be hot enough to get a good sear, but not so hot that the food burns.
  • Turn food once halfway through cooking and do not press on the meat hoping for a better sear – let the heat do the work!
  • Best for: burgers, sausages, chicken thighs, vegetables, scallops, shrimp, calamari, pork chops, fresh dough pizza
Grilled BBQ chicken - recipe here:

Grilled BBQ chicken – recipe here:


  • Good for foods that need a seared crust, but also have a longer cooking time
  • Sear food over direct heat for 3 – 5 minutes to develop grill marks and a crust.  Move to indirect side to continue cooking the inside without burning the outside.
  • Best for: larger cuts of meat, kabobs
Beautiful looking piece of meat.

Beautiful looking piece of meat.

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