Insider’s Guide To Successful Barbecue Cooking On A Gas Grill Part One, Methods

By Richard C Myers

Grilling is grilling, Right? Er, no, wrong! In order to get the most out of your gas grill, you need to be master of the different techniques. The trouble is that the instructions that come with the grill seldom tutor you in the real arts of grilling so here is the Grilling Coach’s advice on outdoor cookery methods …

Indirect Method

The indirect method works much the same way as a convection oven. You operate one burner and place the food over the other. The operating burner provides the heat, surrounding and cooking the food on the other side of the grill allowing you to cook slowly without the food coming in contact with the flames.

Since the heat is circulating, it is not necessary to turn the food. All preheating and cooking is done with the lid down.

Surface Broiling with Lid Raised

This method of broiling exposes only the bottom side of the meat or food to cooking temperatures. It is the slowest method of cooking on a gas grill and is, therefore, suitable only for foods that cook quickly.

Surface Broiling with Lid Lowered or Closed

Foods cook more quickly when the lid is lowered because heat is confined in the grill and both the top and bottom surfaces of the food are exposed to cooking temperatures.

You will also get smokier flavor when you cook with the lid lowered, as there is more flaming and more smoke. Be careful not to overcook the food, though. When broiling steaks or hamburgers, use a High setting to sear the surface. This will help keep the meat inside moist and juicy without overcooking the center of the meat.

Roasting or Baking

You can make your gas grill an oven by closing the cover. Using burner adjustments and the heat indicator, you can control the temperature inside the grill and use it to bake, roast, or barbecue an incredible variety of foods.

Rotisserie Broiling


Rotisserie broiling has several advantages. The meat browns and cooks evenly on all surfaces and does not require constant attention. Whole turkeys, chickens, hams, and large roasts can be barbecued with delicious results. Exact degrees of doneness can be easily determined by the use of a meat thermometer.

Insert the spit rod lengthwise through the center of the meat, balancing it carefully. Secure with holding forks. Roll the spit in the palms of your hands to see if it is balanced. If the weight is not evenly distributed, the spit rod will stop turning once the heavier side of the meat rotates to the down side.


Reasonable amounts of flaming and smoking are desired in broiling or cooking most kinds of meat because that is what produces the barbecue flavor, the essence of outdoor cooking. Of course, too much will cause burning and charring of the meat and should be avoided.

To reduce or eliminate flare-ups:

Trim surplus fat off meat or fowl before cooking.

Purchase lean cuts of meat and ground chuck or round for hamburgers.

Avoid pre-basted turkeys, as they are filled with oil and need careful watching for excessive flare-ups.

Cook with grids at top level and, if necessary, burner at lower setting.

Have a squirt bottle of apple juice handy to douse minor flare-ups. Use baking soda for grease fires.

Flaming can be controlled, in some cases, by adjusting the lid slightly open.


Covered grills give wonderful added smoke flavor to meat, poultry, and fish. Smoking woods are available in chips or chunks. Chunks burn longer than chips and are better for foods with longer cooking times. Soak wood chips and chunks in water for about one hour before using. Use a handful or two of chips or two or three chunks at a time placing them evenly over the lava rocks, being careful not to smother the fire. The more wood used, the stronger the flavor.

Do not use wood that has been commercially treated with chemicals. Softwoods such as pine are not recommended, as they give the food a bitter flavor.

HICKORY has a definite “smoked” flavor — robust and western.

MESQUITE has a lighter “smoked” flavor — more southern in taste.

APPLE AND CHERRY WOODS have a more delicate flavor and are excellent with poultry.

NUT WOODS have a milder smoke flavor.

GRAPEVINE CUTTINGS have a subtle sweet flavor.

For additional flavoring, throw some garlic cloves, fresh or dried herbs, or fruit rinds on the rocks.

Cooking Times

A cooking time chart is not an exact guide for cooking with a gas grill because you will be cooking outdoors where temperatures and wind can influence the rate of cooking. Different grills, size of the meat, and how often the lid is raised also have an effect on the cooking times.

There is no better way to ensure good cooking results than careful attention to the food on the grill. If you are cooking thick cuts of meat or whole fowl, a meat thermometer is your best insurance of exact cooking results, but be careful as some meat thermometers, left in while cooking, can give false readings. Your best guide is your own experience in the use of your gas grill. You will soon become an expert in gauging the amount of time needed to cook various foods and meats to the desired degree of doneness.

High Setting (Approximately 550F/290C)

Use this setting for searing steaks and chops, for a fast warm-up or for burning food residue from the grills after you are finished cooking. You seldom use this setting for extended cooking.

Medium Setting (Approximately 450F/230C)

Use this setting for most grilling, roasting and baking as well as for hamburgers and vegetables.

Low Setting (Approximately 350F/180C)

Use this setting for rotisserie cooking and smoking. (Given temperatures will vary with the outside temperature and the amount of wind.)


Once you are finished cooking, burn off any food residue by setting the control to High, closing the lid and heating for 5 to 10 minutes or until the smoking stops. After turning the heat off, use a long-handled wire brush to clean the grills. Protect your hands with oven mitts. You do not have to clean your barbecue after every use, but if you wish to give it an occasional scrubbing, use a mild solution of soap and water and rinse thoroughly. Never use a commercial oven cleaner.

For a more thorough cleaning of the grill and briquettes, place a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil, shiny side down, on top of the cooking grill. Leave gaps on the sides of the grill open so you are covering only three-quarters of the cooking surface. Ignite the grill with the burners on High, close the lid and let heat for 10 minutes. Turn all burners off and let cool. Remove the foil.

In part 2 the Grilling Coach deals with preventive maintenance and safety.

About the Author: Want the best barbecue tips and advice? Want to impress friends and family at your tailgating party? Then visit the Grilling Coach now –


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Insider’s Guide To Successful Barbecue Cooking On A Gas Grill Part One, Methods