Indirect Is Best: How to Make a Two-Level Fire
When you’re grilling over high heat, you place your food right over the fire. However, for barbecue and its first cousin, indirect grilling, you want your food to cook slowly and away from the major source of heat.
On a Gas Grill
First, set all the burners to high. You want to get the whole grill nice and hot before you start–at least 500°. Your next step depends on the type of grill you have. If you have three heat zones, turn off the middle burner and reduce the heat on the two side burners to medium. Place a disposable aluminum pan in the center of the grill; this will act as your drip pan and prevent flare-ups. Adjust the side burners to keep the temperature at around 350°, and you’re ready to go.
If you have a two-zone grill, follow the preheating instructions as above, but turn off the burner on one side of the grill while turning the other burner down to medium (depending on your grill, you may need to set it at medium high to maintain a temperature of 350°). You’ll be cooking your food on the “cool” side of the grill, so place the drip pan underneath that. Proceed as directed.
On a Charcoal Grill
On a standard 22-½-inch kettle grill, you’ll need about 50 charcoal briquettes to start. Light the coals according to your favorite method. When they’re red-hot (about 20 minutes), use tongs to arrange them in two equal-size piles on opposite sides of the grill (charcoal baskets or gates help keep things tidier). Leave the center free to hold the drip pan. When the coals are covered with a thin layer of gray ash, you’re ready to cook. Always keep the food directly over the drip pan. Add about 10 to 12 briquettes to each side for each hour of cooking.