Dual-zone cooking is exactly what it sounds like: dividing your grilling surface into two distinct temperature zones, one for high heat and one for low heat. This setup gives you access to direct and indirect heat at the same time, which is essential when you’re grilling foods of various thicknesses, using your grill like a convection oven, or searing a larger cut of meat that needs to be finished with low heat. Additionally, dual-zone grilling allows you to better manage flare-ups by simply moving food from direct heat to the indirect, lower-temperature zone until the flames die down a bit. Arranging dual zones is different on a gas and charcoal grill, but both methods are simple and give you the improved heat control and cooking flexibility that every griller deserves.
How to Set up Dual Zones on a Gas Grill
Start by preheating your grill, then set some of your burners to high heat and the rest to low. How you divide the zones depends on how many burners your grill has and what kind of food you’re trying to cook. For example, you can do burgers on a 4-burner grill that’s evenly split into a pair of 2-burner zones, or you might put 1 of your 5 burners on high and leave the rest on low when using convection heat to slow-roast a whole chicken.
How to Set up Dual Zones on a Charcoal Grill
Once your coals are lit, simply push them to one side of the grill. Though hot coals will be below only half of the cooking grate, the other side will still offer heat at lower temperatures. A half-moon heat deflector or a Weber charcoal tray can also help you achieve the same setup without having to physically bank coals to one side. You can even take a page from Chef Tony’s playbook and place a water pan on top of a heat deflector, adding moisture to your versatile dual-zone setup.