Indirect Heat – or Roasting on the Grill

Indirect heat, that is heat that is not directly under the bits you’re grilling, is a great way to grill large pieces of meat such as roast pork, beef, or even a whole chicken.  I am a huge fan of this cooking method because it results in wonderfully cooked meat that is juicy and tasty with just the right hint of charcoal.  Also, you can add good quality chunks of wood to the fire to give your food that smoked flavor without spending an entire day toiling around with a smoker.

DSCN0407As with any good charcoal grill session, I start by building my fire in a charcoal chimney.  This ignition method ensures that my food doesn’t taste of petroleum when it’s all said and done.  I also start the wood for this recipe in this chimney.

The basic workings are that you crumple up two sheets of news paper and stuff them in the bottom of the chimney.  Then you stack charcoal on top of the grate that holds the charcoal and fill the chimney.  Finally, you light the paper and set the chimney on the grill.  When you have flames coming out the top, your ready to dump the chimney.  You are going to want to use a good pair of insulated gloves to handle the chimney — even though it has a heat-resistant handle, it does tend to get pretty hot.

DSCN0409In order to keep the coals to the side of the chicken, I use some special trays to hold my coals.   These are available from a number of places and also from Weber’s website.  They are inexpensive and do a great job keeping the heat on the sides of the grill instead of directly under the cooking surface.


Place the bird in the center of the cooking rack and roast with the lid on for about an hour — always check the bird’s temperature with a meat thermometer.  It should register 160 F when it is done.  Also, the juices should run clear.

If you’ve added hardwood to the fire, you will end up with a bird that has a lot of flavor as well as a beautiful golden brown color.   As with all meat coming off the grill, you should let it cool for about 5 minutes before you slice into it.  This will make slicing the meat easier and will also ensure that juices are redistributed throughout the meat.


Prior to cooking this bird, I used a spice rub on the inside as well as the outside.

Spice Rub

1 tbsp. kosher salt
1/2 tbsp. black pepper
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1 tbsp. garlic powder

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