Outdoor Cooking Techniques and Cookout Recipes

The folks at Char-Broil have put together a book, called Char-Broil Great Book of Grilling.

| Summer 2018

Many people mistakenly refer to any type of cooking on their grill as “barbecuing,” but that’s not entirely correct. Let’s compare the outdoor cooking techniques needed for the recipes in this book.



Grilling involves quickly cooking individual portions of food at relatively high temperatures over a direct heat source. The first step in many grilling recipes is to sear the meat over high heat – between 350 F and 550 F. The higher heat browns the outside of smaller cuts of meat, sealing in juices that would be lost if the meat were cooked more slowly. My mother did this before placing a roast in the oven, and I do it every time I grill a steak. Cast-iron grates on a grill are also highly conductive, which significantly aids the searing process.

Once food is seared, you’ll often finish cooking over indirect heat on another part of the grill. The reason food can continue to cook this way is that there’s still plenty of heat generated by one or more of these sources: (1) convective heat from air heated by the fire; (2) conductive heat from the grill grates; and (3) radiant heat produced by either a charcoal or an infrared gas grill.


Barbecuing is a slower way of cooking large portions of meat or poultry using an indirect source of heat at a lower temperature (usually between 225 F and 350 F). It takes time, but your end result is tender and juicy.

Here’s the science behind barbecuing: When meat is placed away from the heat source, it cooks by “bathing” in the hot air – or convective heat – generated by the fire. Another way you might describe barbecuing is slow roasting at low temperatures. Cuts of meat that benefit from this type of cooking, such as pork shoulder and beef brisket, have a high ratio of collagen in the meat. (Translation: They’re tough.) Slow cooking with indirect heat works magic on these cuts, breaking down the dense collagen and adding tenderness and flavor.

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