Are you planning a Christmas BBQ? If you want your grilling to be as efficient as possible, we recommend that you set up a two-zone grill. Although this might sound complex, two-zone grilling is actually really simple.
What Is a Two-Zone Grill?
A two-zone grill has both hot and cool zones – AKA an ‘indirect heat’ zone and a ‘direct heat’ zone. The direct zone produces radiant heat, which is perfect for searing meat and vegetables and cooking items quickly, whereas the indirect zone is more like a convection oven, and is therefore ideal for cooking meat or vegetables that require ‘low and slow’ cooking.
Why Set up a Two-Zone Grill?
Two-zone grilling is ideal because it gives you ultimate temperature control (and therefore better tasting meals!).
The most common BBQ mistake people make is cooking with too much direct heat. This can cause meat to shrink and become tough and dry. With a two-zone set up, you can slowly bring a piece of meat to perfect medium rare doneness and then put in on the direct heat zone to create a delicious, crunchy sear.
Two-zone grilling is particularly handy if you have more than one food cooking at once, as certain meats (like whole chickens or thick roasts) will burn on direct heat before they have the chance to cook through. These meats can be slowly cooked in the indirect heat zone while you cook thin cuts of meat and fast-cooking items on the direct zone. BBQ efficiency at its best!
How to Set up a Two-Zone Grill
Light your coals as usual. Rather than covering the lower grate with an even layer of the coals, stack them all to one side (this will be your direct zone).
Two-Zone Propane or Gas
If you have a gas or propane grill, all you need to do is light one side of the burners. For example, with a four burner grill, you would light the two left burners and the right hand side would be the cool/indirect heat area.
Whether you use charcoal or gas/propane, try to get the direct zone to a temperature of around 160-190ºC and the indirect to about 110-120ºC.
And that’s it!