Two-zone grilling enables you to cook at different temperatures, one side with direct heat and the other with indirect heat.
Two-Zone Cooking Method
Two-zone cooking is the most flexible way of using your grill. It enables you to have one side with direct radiant heat for your sears, and the other with indirect convection heat for cooking food slowly. This method makes acing your grilling much easier.
Setting up your grill for two-zone cooking is super easy, you just place your lump charcoal on one half of your grill and leave the other half without any heat source. The Direct heat of your grill is perfect for fast cooks, such as a thin skirt steak, some kebabs, seafood or vegetables. This high heat is also great for any searing you wish to do. On the other side, the indirect heat is perfect for when you want to cook a whole chicken or turkey, or smoke a brisket or pork butt. For us, this method is best for our favorite cooking method, the reverse sear. We can slowly cook a thick Tomahawk steak on the indirect heat, once it reaches 115F internal temp, we just flip it to the direct heat for around 1 minute per side to get the perfect sear with the perfect medium rare steak.
Note: When using indirect heat, always use the lid to maintain the temps in the grill!
Setting up your grill for two-zone cooking is super easy, you just place your lump charcoal on one half of your grill and leave the other half without any heat source.
Reverse Sear Inspiration
Why use the Two-Zone method?
The Two-Zone Method is a great way of cooking. The 3 main benefits are:
- Control - Having two heat zones gives you better control on how you want your food to be cooked. Is it already medium rare on the inside but pale on the outside? Move it to the direct heat section for a short time to give it a great sear. Did you use the direct heat from the start and looks great but the food is still undercooked? Move it to the indirect heat side and slowly cooked it to perfection.
The indirect zone also serves as a safety zone when your lump charcoal starts to flare, or as a "keep warm" mode when you're not ready to serve but your food is almost ready.
- Flexibility - This method gives you the flexibility to cook in different methods. You can go low and slow and cook a brisket, or do a reverse sear, or just a quick skirt steak. But the benefit is most noticeable when you invite a group of friends or family and each of them like their steak cooked differently. This method will help you satisfy all of them!
- Flavor - In food, one size does not fit all. Different foods have different water content, proteins, sugars, etc. They all react differently with high and low heat. To get the very best flavor from your food, mastering your grill’s heat and working the different temperatures is key. When you optimize the heat for a particular food, you’re going to maximize the flavor.