What Large Meats Can You Cook on the Grill with Indirect Heat?
You may think grilling large cuts of meat with indirect heat doesn’t make sense. However, indirect grilling is more common than you realize. In today’s blog, we’ll talk about the method of indirect heat grilling and what large meats you can experiment with, so continue reading.
Large Meats to Consider Grilling with Indirect Heat
There are six large types of meat you can try indirect heat grilling with, including whole turkeys, roasts, leg of lamb, briskets, chicken, and slabs of ribs. Foods with glazes, marinades, and sugary sauces are best suited using this method, so keep that in mind.
Now, let’s talk about indirect heat grilling and how to cook these meats.
Method of Indirect Grilling
Have you ever done the following: put the food you’re grilling away from direct heat so as not to burn? Or, covered the lid so the food can cook more evenly? This is indirect heat cooking and is precisely the method for grilling large meats. Covering the grill insulates and traps the heat to cook over and around the food, not directly on it.
The best way to indirect heat grill is by using charcoal, gas, or wood, and since most grills have a second-level grid set higher than the primary cooking grid, it allows you to also cook small, delicate foods, such as fish, cheese, or desserts. The grill temperature is typically around 250-350℉ since this temperature lets the food cook well on the inside, without burning or charring the outside.
You should use a metal drip pan to collect any dripping fat and juices; however, you can use an aluminum baking pan one sold in stores. Put the pan under the cooking grid, under the food to catch the juice. With constant heat applied to the food, along with the extended grilling time, it causes the membranes and connective tissue to break down in the meat; this releases natural juices. Note, these fluids can cause flare-ups, clog grilling equipment, or extinguish a flame, so use a drip pan.
You can collect juices and baste or create yummy sauces for your meat, and best, using a drip pan makes clean-up easy. Also, fill the pan with water, brother, or even beer, to add moisture and enhance the flavor. Be aware that adding combustible liquor...well, you know.
Charcoal Indirect Grilling
Who uses charcoal anymore? With electric grills, it seems to be the least popular and frankly not needed. Nevertheless, charcoal is perfect to use with indirect grilling, because you can position the nuggets where required to ensure you get different heat levels in your grill.
If you have a kettle-type grill, you may only need two zones, one side with all the heat from burning coals, and the other a not-so-hot side. Add a metal drip pan on the side with no coals. If your grill is larger, you can do a three-heat-zone for cooking, with high, medium, and low heat. For high heat, stack charcoals two-level deep; the more coal, the higher the temperature. Medium heat would require one level and low heat, no coals, accompanied by a dip pan.
Some charcoal grills have an adjustable firebox or charcoal grate, so if you have one of these, start by raising the hot coals high in a firebox, right under the grill. Lower the coals to reduce direct heat to the food cooking, and then you can place your food on the cooking grid. Close the lid and keep it closed most of the time.
Remember that the indirect heating method will take longer to cook your food, so be prepared to add more coals if needed. Charcoals to use, include:
- Charcoal briquettes - Depending on what type, these may be a little trickier to add. The important thing is that coals are not smoking when adding them to your grill.
- Instant or self-igniting briquettes that must be fully lit and ready for cooking before adding them to the fire. If not, they will infuse your food with unpleasant smoke and a petroleum taste.
- Lump charcoal, which you can add without being lit to an already cooking fire since they contain clean-burning qualities
Think about using a charcoal chimney (a metal cylinder that allows you to start your charcoal grill the correct way) to light the charcoal briquettes on the side first, then use them for cooking. Be aware of the recommended grilling times and temperatures of foods prepared with indirect heat since most of these foods are big and need plenty of time to cook the inside at a safe internal temperature.
‘Ring of Fire’ Indirect Heating Grilling
This unique indirect heating grilling method involves placing the coals in ring formation on the grill, thus creating an outer hot ring and a not-so-hot center for placing food on the cooking grid. Here’s how the method works. First, light your charcoal in a charcoal chimney (chimney starter). Then, remove the cooking grid. When the coals are hot enough, carefully place them on the outer rim of the charcoal grate.
If needed to hold your hot coals, mold a long sheet of foil to create the inner rim of the ring of fire. Remember, place a drip pan on the charcoal grate, underneath the food and inside the ring of fire, then add water to the pan. Keep the grill cover closed to ensure a radiated heat generated by the ring of fire; this allows for even cooking.
For a great woodsy flavor to your meat, consider using hardwood chips with your charcoal grill. The chips do well since you cover the grill most of the time, which is optimal for “smoking.” Soak the wood chips for 30-60 minutes in water and then liberally disperse them over the coals, first allowing them to drip-dry. You can also put the wrap the coals in aluminum foil and poke some holes in it and then place the foil on top of the hot coals for “smoking.”
Gas Indirect Grilling
The gas grill is an easy peasy way to grill since there are no coals to light up or move around. There are tons of options to choose from with gas grills that will achieve even and flavorful cooking every time. When using a gas grill, there’s one thing to keep in mind, and that’s dripping fat, which can cause trouble.
Clogged burners create safety and malfunction issues and clean-up time a major pain. Some grills come outfitted with an underlying pan to collect fat and juices, which you can easily pull out for cleaning and disposal. If you do end up with one burner, you can cook meat indirectly, but at low temps, it will take longer. Two and three-burner grills are still recommended. Get familiar with your grill’s owner manual and follow the instructions when putting together a new grill.
When ready to cook, turn on all burners on high for an overall hot chamber. The gas grill must be hot enough before you can cook indirectly, so turn the heat up. Now, turn off the burner on the side where you will place the food. First, oil the cooking grid before putting the food on. Ensure the food reaches the required internal temperature with a food probe thermometer and viola, you’re ready to eat the tender, juicy meat.
Add Reggae Spice Wet Marinade
To add immense flavor to your large meats, try our wet marinades that allow you to brush on a grill, without needing to wait for hours. We have several flavors to whet your appetite, including curry-infused flavors that offer the perfect amount of spice for your meats. Contact us and see about our specials for your next get-together.