Direct grilling vs. indirect grilling


The majority of all BBQ fans only do direct grilling, but ever heard of indirect grilling? Believe us, once you get to know the wonderful world of indirect grilling, there is no way back! The choice for direct or indirect grilling has nothing to do with the type of barbecue you use, but everything with the thickness and the volume of your ingredients. However, the only requirement for indirect grilling is that your barbecue has a lid or dome.


Let's Barbecook & Grill!

Direct grilling

When we barbecue, we usually do it with the technique of direct grilling. Direct grilling means that we cook ingredients centrally on the grid, directly over the fire. Direct grilling can be done on all Barbecook barbecues. It's important that the temperatures are very high.


Charcoal barbecues and direct grilling go hand in hand. Make sure your coals are sufficiently warm with the help of Barbecook’s charcoal starter and drop the glowing coals into the bowl with the safe-drop system. Add some extra charcoal until your barbecue bowl is for 50% full. Wait until all coals have a grey layer of ash.


If you want to grill directly with your gas barbecue, it's important to preheat your barbecue for about 10 minutes with all burners fully open. Put your favourite ingredients on the grid and grill them thanks to the direct radiant heat of the fire.


Direct grilling is perfect for quick preparations of smaller or thinly sliced meat or fish, or for searing large pieces. Important: with direct grilling, you need to stay near the barbecue all the time, so that you can turn your favourite ingredients regularly. Use for example one of Barbecook’s grill tongs for this.

Indirect grilling

Indirect grilling is also known as 'low & slow grilling'. When you grill indirectly, your ingredients are not cooked above, but next to the fire. Meat and fish are therefore grilled next to the direct radiant heat of the fire at the side of the grid. For this, it’s best to use a large barbecue grid. Indirect grilling is done at a medium temperature, since it's grilled with the gases that circulate in the barbecue.


With indirect grilling, you can slowly grill bigger and thicker pieces of meat or fish without running the risk of burning them. An extra advantage is that your preparation is cooked equally all over, so that no raw pieces remain.


Indirect grilling can be done on a charcoal barbecue as well as on a gas barbecue. If you choose a charcoal barbecue, you should ideally buy the Barbecook dome. The dome radiates the heat from above, so that your favourite ingredients are cooked on all sides. With a charcoal barbecue, always wait until the coals glow. Then, move the coals a bit more to the left side of the barbecue bowl, so that you can grill indirectly on the right side.


To grill indirectly with a gas barbecue, you have to turn off certain burners when your barbecue is sufficiently heated up. If you have two burners, then turn off one of them and put the meat, fish or vegetables above the burner which is not burning. If your gas barbecue has 3 or 4 burners, then turn off a burner in the middle and put your ingredients above it.


With indirect grilling, aromatics are often added, such as wine, beer or bouillon. Want something more special? Then choose our smoking chips or wood chunks. Allow the smoking chips or wood chunks to soak for a while and then sprinkle them on the coals, or in the case of a gas barbecue, put them in the smoker box. Ready to taste the fun?

Combination of direct and indirect grilling 

Simply put, direct grilling is equivalent to the grill function of the barbecue, and indirect grilling to the oven function. The real magic, however, is created when you combine direct and indirect grilling. First grill a nice thick steak for 1 minute on each side directly. Due to the high temperatures, you can sear the meat briefly and powerfully, which keeps it extra juicy inside. Next, place the côte à l'os on the side of the barbecue grill and close the lid. Let the côte à l'os grill indirectly at a low temperature for another 20 minutes. Finish off with coarse sea salt! Truly delicious!