Basic Grilling Techniques

    There are multiple grilling techniques and methods. The types of heat sources for grilling are numerous. Factor in the different types of food like steaks, poultry, fish, seafood and vegetables and you can quickly see that the ways and methods of grilling are going to be many and diverse.

The key is to customize  your grilling techniques and your use of equipment to suit the food type to obtain the result you desire. To get the best results from a particular method or technique, these factors have to be put into play.

The main factors are food type, heat source and desired result. The last factor has to do with personal preference or weather, as in, will you be grilling indoors or outdoors?

Grilling Methods

Direct heat grilling is the most basic and common grilling method. The words speak for this method. Food items are placed over direct heat in order to cook them. This can be done over a charcoal, gas, wood or any other heat source.

The heat is usually high and ideal for searing.  Searing involves using high heat to 'burn' both sides of your food item for a few minutes to seal flavors. The thicker your meat the longer you can sear.

Flaming Grills Outdoors

After searing, the food item can then be transferred to the 'not-so-hot' part of the grill to cook.

Hamburgers, steaks, chops, sausages even kabobs do well with direct heat. These foods usually take 30 minutes or less to be fully cooked.

Indirect grilling is a method where the food is cooked with reflected or indirect heat.

It involves not placing the food over a direct heat source and keeping the lid covered most of the time.

If the food must be placed over the heat source then the temperature will have to be low for the food to cook 'indirectly'. It's like roasting in an oven. Large pieces that take a while to cook like whole turkeys, leg of lamb and many roasts can be cooked in this way. more >>

Sometimes food items are grilled over direct heat first, to seal flavors, then they are cooked with indirect heat.

Smoking is one of those grilling techniques that has a more specialized approach to it. It can only be done outdoors. You can 'smoke' while grilling with gas or while grilling with charcoal. This actual technique involves cooking food at a low temperature in a closed chamber and for a long time, hence the industry term, 'low and slow'.

You can use any of your favorite choice of hardwood smoking wood chips, chunks, pellets or even dust to 'flavor' the food. The heat source is usually somewhere beside the food or even in a different chamber or box.

The result is usually very tender, smoke-flavored food that is 'to die for'. You know what that means! Specially designed equipment is available for the avid 'smoker'. more >>

Rotisserie grilling is one of those grilling methods that is quickly gaining in popularity. It is also referred to as spit roasting. In this method, food is placed in a chamber with a motorized turn spit or a rotating skewer. There are special ceramic or infrared burners that produce the indirect heat needed for cooking. A charcoal fire can also be used to produce the indirect heat.

Some new grills have a built-in motor assembly to rotate the food. After-market motors are available for 'do-it-yourself' installation if your grill does not have one. You can cook whole birds, roasts and ribs in this way. more >>

Summer Grill Food Grilling Outdoors

Outdoor grilling is not a method of grilling in itself.

It only refers to carrying out the cooking outside. Please refer to charcoal, gas or wood grilling to learn more.

Plank grilling is a very unique way of grilling.

The idea is to place food on a piece of wood (plank), as heat is applied, the plank 'smolder-smokes' and infuses the food item with its wood 'flavor'.

Planks are readily available for retail online. Most reputable specialty gourmet and grilling equipment retailers will have cedar planks and other wood-type planks in store. If you do not find your favorite flavor planks, call them out. Just kidding! more >>

Infrared grilling is a mystery grilling technique. No one anywhere knows anything about it! That would be the saddest day, huh? Anyway, infrared  is both a 'low-tech' and a 'hi-tech' heat generating technique.

On one side, one industry expert likens infrared heat to the heat produced at a bonfire travelling to your face through heat waves, not blowing wind. Pretty low-tech, huh?

On the other hand, we know that modern ceramic burners used for infrared grilling are configured to be able to generate very high heat; tha's hi-tec! All the fat is gone! Infrared grills cost relatively more. Word on the street is that their prices are dropping! There are benefits and a down side to using infrared heat for grilling. more >>

Ways of Grilling

Charcoal grilling is the most traditional and popular way of grilling. It encompasses all aspects of grilling and is very versatile. The fuel used is either lump charcoal or charcoal briquettes.

Both direct and indirect heat grilling methods and techniques can be applied to prepare great tasty grilled foods. To add on to that charcoal grills are very affordable and available at many department and hardware stores.

Enjoy a barrage of grilling tips available for your perusal. Also, learn from my good friend Cari who loves grilling, how you can indulge in happy eating because she will teach you how to grill and eat 'guilt-free' and keep you slim and trim at the same time! more >>

There is always a great charcoal vs gas debate going on. What do you prefer?

Gas grilling is one of the most convenient ways of grilling. It is a 'no mess' way of grilling. Gas grills normally cost a little more than their charcoal counterparts but make up for cost by being more convenient and temperature control is a breeze!

A gas grill is also easier to start up and there is no 'smoke'. Some assembly required. Follow assembly instructions carefully. All you need after that is a liquid propane (LP), natural gas (NG) portable tank or any other approved liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) available in your area. Once set up, a gas grill is easy to use. Click, cluck and go! The goose is cooked!  more >>

Wood grilling is another way of grilling by utilizing wood as fuel. This way of grilling was until recently the premise of restaurants only. In the market today, heavy-duty, portable wood-burning grills and stoves are available for home cooking.

Wood burns faster than charcoal but imparts deep flavors of choice including maple, hickory and other fruit woods like cherry. Aged wood, chopped down and stored at least over a year prior to using, burns better in the stove with less smoke. Why do they stack all that firewood out there all year long? Mystery ..... solved! more >>

Know your food item. Identify your method; direct, indirect or smoking e.t.c. Select your way of grilling; charcoal, gas e.t.c. Apply specific grilling techniques. Enjoy the results!

Do you have any grilling questions? Get answers!

Related Pages

Grilling Tips - A compilation of more than 35 time-tested grilling tips to enhance the whole grilling experience and get tasty mouth-watering foods!

Charcoal Chimney Method - A charcoal chimney is a metal cylinder that allows you to start your charcoal grill in the the cheapest, safest and most efficient way. No charcoal lighter fluid needed!

Lump Charcoal vs Briquettes - Lump costs more, starts faster, burns quickly, smells better and achieves higher temperature. The two main types of briquettes are plain and instant or self-igniting.

Wood Flavors - Using chips and chunks opens the door to stepping up the grilling game and trying out new flavor. Blend different woods and create your own new flavor!

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"All normal people love meat. If I went to a barbeque and there was no meat, "Yo Goober! Where's the meat? I'm trying to impress people here Lisa. You don't win friends with salad."

-Homer Simpson

"Grilling, broiling, barbecuing - whatever you want to call it, is an art, not just a matter of building a pyre and throwing on a piece of meat as a sacrifice to the gods of the stomach."

-James Beard

"It is very important that when you put something on the grill, you leave it in place to cook. If you move it around too quickly, chances are it is going to stick."

-Bobby Flay