Technique | Direct Grilling
Direct grilling is what we associate most with gas barbecues. From seared steaks to mouth-watering burgers, when you grill over a burning heat source, you’re direct grilling.
Direct grilling usually happens in the HIGH-temperature range and is often equated with searing. Think of the most iconic grilled items like steaks, pork chops, chicken wings, burgers, sausages, kebabs, or any other items that are quick to grill.
How to Grill Directly
• Preheat your grill on HIGH until it stops smoking. Then turn the heat down to MEDIUM-HIGH or MEDIUM, depending on what you’re grilling.
• Remove any debris from the cooking grids with a grill brush. Always start with a clean grill.
• Season the cooking grids with oil to help prevent sticking while grilling or oil the grilled items well. Food sticks to dry grates easily.
• Get grilling and listen. If you don’t hear a sizzle, you’re not grilling. The sizzle means that you’re cooking with enough heat to brown the outside of your food.
• Don’t forget to flip. Flipping adds sear marks in different directions. Aim for a criss-cross pattern like you’ll find on the Perfect Steak.
What is Happening to My Food While I Grill?
Inside your grill, energy radiates from the heat source (the burners) to your metal cooking surfaces such as a pot, pan, or cooking grates. The metal absorbs the heat energy and temporarily holds onto it, charging, much like a battery (see the diagram to the right). When you sear or sauté, that energy is conducted through direct contact from the cooking surface to your food. More conductive heat means more and longer searing power. This concept is why a sear mark is generally black, but the area around it is golden brown or grey.
It’s not just conductive heat cooking your food; it’s radiant, and to a lesser extent, convective heat too! The browned surfaces are created by radiant heat and a process called the Maillard reaction. This is where your complex flavours develop. Grilled vapor sticks to the wet surface, and as the Maillard reaction occurs, new flavor compounds are created.
As food cooks, their cells burst and release juices. These juices fall and vaporize on numerous hot surfaces inside your Broil King gas grill. The vaporization starts on the cooking grids and continues as juices drop onto the Flav-R-Waves. Finally, any remaining droplets that hit the bottom of the cook box complete the vaporization process. Charcoal and pellet grills go through a similar vaporization process.
Grill vapor is loaded with flavor; it’s what gives food its distinct barbecue taste. Vapor is a combination of water in the form of steam and smoke. That smoke is sticky and searching for a wet surface to adhere to, such as your food.
Is Vaporization Essential?
As stated, vaporization gives our grilled food its defining unique flavour; a steak cooked in a frying pan does not taste the same as a steak grilled in its own vapor. Our Flav-R-Waves provide the surface area and slope necessary for the best vaporization. As mentioned above, Broil King grills offer three layers of vaporization, starting with the cooking grids, then the Flav-R-Waves and finally the cook box itself. You can see this journey in the diagram to the right as the juices hit the various hot surfaces of the grill. They become vapor (which is really flavor), and then they rise back up to stick to your food. Vaporization is, therefore, imperative to get the best flavour possible in your food.
Sear & Sizzle with Broil King
We love the look of a great sear mark, it’s the most iconic visual aspect of any steak, but you don’t need it for every grilled item. Our heavy-duty cast-iron grids hold the heat necessary to deliver constant searing heat. Use the peak side of your cooking grids to get the perfect sear mark. Not only do you get direct searing power, but you also get radiant heat and vaporization right at the grilling surface.
Broil King grids also feature a grooved side for added cooking versatility. The V side of your grids delivers more surface contact for more sear, and the channels collect juices to baste your food continually. Flip your cooking grids to the grooved side when you’re ready to grill some chicken or fresh handmade burgers.
Direct Grilling Anatomy
Remember the components of your cooking system when grilling to maximize flavour.
***If you’re grilling on the entire grill surface, all burners are on and set to MEDIUM-HIGH or HIGH heat. Remember, HIGH on a Broil King doesn’t mean MAX***