How to Grill and Tips on Using Barbeque Briquettes

Two methods of cooking use a charcoal grill, direct and indirect. Find out when a particular cooking method should be used. The inexperienced griller often uses direct grilling when the meat calls for indirect.

The result is either undercooked meat or charred meat. Before learning the two cooking methods with BBQ briquettes, learn the proper methods to light a charcoal grill.

Indirect versus Direct Grilling Methods

Certain meats that require longer cooking times require the indirect cooking method. Thick cuts of meat also require cooking to keep the meat from charring. The indirect cooking method means placing the meat away from the charcoal.

Faster cooking meats, like hamburgers, are generally cooked using the direct grilling method, directly above the BBQ briquettes.

How to Set up the Charcoal Grill for Indirect Grilling

  1. Once the pile of briquettes turns white, carefully use a metal utensil with a handle to make two separate piles of briquettes.
  2. Place each pile of briquettes on opposite sides of the BBQ grill with a space in the middle.
  3. Place a tinfoil-baking container between the briquettes to catch the drippings. Use the drippings to make gravy or au jus if desired.
  4. Place meat directly above the container, away from the heat source
  5. Close the BBQ grill lid to keep the heat contained. Avoid lifting the grill lid as much as possible.
  6. Keep bottom vents wide open and top vent closed or slightly opened to help adjust the temperature.
  7. Remove and serve the meat when it reaches the appropriate internal temperatures.

Examples of Meat for Indirect Grilling

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Tri Tip
  • Ribs
  • Pork Tenderloin
  • Roasts
  • Brisket

Examples of Meat for Direct Grilling

  • Steaks
  • Hamburgers
  • Hot Dogs
  • Sausage
  • Pork Chops
  • Fish
  • Shrimp

BBQ Grilling Tips and Techniques for the Charcoal Grill

  • Apply BBQ sauce only in the last few minutes of cooking time to avoid charring.
  • Sear thick cuts of meats, like beef tri-tip, for example, to lock in the juices with direct heat. Then use the indirect grilling method to finish cooking the meat.
  • Only turn meats one time when using direct heat to retain the juices.
  • Do not press down on meats like hamburgers. This will cause the juices to drain out and result in drier tasteless meat.
  • Keep the charcoal grill lid closed as much as possible, especially for the indirect cooking method.
  • When direct cooking, leave an area with fewer briquettes to move the meat to a cooler part of the grill during flare-ups.
  • Use a meat thermometer in the thickest part to ensure the meat is cooked thoroughly, especially for thicker cuts of meat, pork, and poultry.
  • Use good cooking oil to grate the grill surface so that the meats won’t stick to the grill.
  • If cooking meats that require longer cooking times like turkey and roasts, use a cooking grill grate that allows more briquettes to be added.

Round charcoal barbeque grills are better for indirect grilling because they distribute the heat evenly. When appropriate, direct or indirect grilling methods will ensure a flavorful and tender piece of meat.

Before grilling, the grill grate should be cleaned to avoid meat contamination. Want to grill the perfect steak? Read cooking steaks to perfection on the grill.