One thing that most of us grillers struggle with, at one time or another, is trying to get our food to cook through to the center, without turning the outside into a charred mess.
There are so many factors involved that effect how much heat reaches the food—type of fuel, outdoor temperature, humidity, wind, type of meat, surface temperature of the meat—suddenly I need an engineering degree to grill some flippin’ chicken, you know?
One way that I’ve found to not only control the char, but retain the tenderness and natural moisture in the foods I’m grilling, is to create multiple grilling “zones” and position water pans under my food. The most common set up is a Two-Zone fire. You can sear the exterior of a thick steak, chop, or chicken breast over high heat (the direct zone) to get great caramelization and flavor, and then flip food to the water-pan side (the indirect zone) to keep it from burning, and finish cooking the interior to perfection.
Perry P. Perkins is a Grilling is Happiness sponsored writer.