Easy steps to set-up your charcoal grill for food that takes more than 20 minutes to cook

How to Grill Over Indirect Heat on a Charcoal Grill


There are two ways to set up your grill for grilling- over direct and over indirect heat. The Indirect method means that the heat is placed either to one side or both sides of the food. You will use the indirect method for foods that take longer than 20 minutes or are so delicate that the direct exposure to the heat source would dry them out or scorch them.


  • Open the lid and place it on the rim of the grill using the hook inside the lid.
  • Remove the cooking grate and set aside.
  • Open the bottom vent using the handle underneath the bowl.
  • Place two lighter cubes on the charcoal grate and then place a Chimney Starter over the light cubes.
  • If you do not have lighter cubes, soak some newspaper with olive oil, wad it up and place under the chimney starter and ignite though the holes in the bottom.
  • Fill the upper chamber of the Chimney Starter with briquettes, lift up the Chimney Starter and light the cubes or newspaper.
  • Weber briquettes will take 15 to 20 minutes to light fully.
  • When the charcoal is lightly coated all over with white ash, it is ready to go. Put on two protective barbecue mitts and carefully empty the coals onto the charcoal grate.
  • Spread the coals, using a charcoal rake, into two equal piles on opposite sides of the charcoal grate. This gives you two zones for direct heat—high, medium, or low—and one zone between them for indirect heat.
  • Put the cooking grate in place, close the lid, open the top vent, and leave all the vents open.
  • Let the cooking grate preheat for 15 minutes.
  • Place food on the cooking grate.
  • Close the lid of the grill and lift it only to turn food or to test for doneness at the end of the recommended cooking time.
  • For best results, place roasts, poultry, or large cuts of meat on a roasting rack set inside a disposable heavy-gauge foil pan. For longer cooking times, add water to the drip pan to keep drippings from burning. The drippings can be used to make gravies or sauces.