Grilled meat


The Complete Father’s Day Guide to Grilling: Three Key Grilling Techniques and Recipe Ideas

There are three key ways to set up your grill to better handle any recipe
Grilled meat


Direct and indirect grilling techniques produce amazingly different results.

There are three key ways to set up your grill to better handle any recipe, whether you’re a new griller or a lifelong backyard pro.

1. Direct Grilling

This is the most common practice for grilling. Food is placed directly over the coals in a charcoal grill, or over the ignited burner in a gas grill, quickly searing the outside of the food.


Direct Grilling Recipes

Grilled Chicken


Spicy Grilled Chicken Wings

Try these wings for a different take on the classic Buffalo wing. Grilled chicken wings are a great backyard treat for the whole family. Cooking them directly over the fire gets the skin crispy without having to deep-fry them.

For the Spicy Grilled Chicken Wings recipe, click here.

Veggie Kebabs


Crazy Vegetable Kebabs

Grilled vegetables are a perfect summer treat. Vegetable kebabs are a grilling staple for good reason. Grilled vegetables are naturally sweet and full of crunch and color. Plus, there’s a whole variety of delicious, fresh produce in season during the summertime.

For the Crazy Vegetable Kebabs recipe, click here.

Grilled Fish


Grilled Whole Fish

This recipe is so simple and delicious! Grilling whole fish is a quick and easy way to get crispy skin on the outside and a flaky interior. A locking grill basket is a great way to make sure the fish stays intact and comes out perfect every time.

For the Grilled Whole Fish recipe, click here.


2. Indirect Grilling

For indirect grilling, only half of the grill is ignited or heated directly, meaning there is always a cooler side of the grill, without a heat source directly beneath it. To grill using this method, place the food above the cooler zone, allowing it to cook at a lower temperature, and still obtain that “grilled” taste. For more advanced grillers, set up your grill with a hot zone, medium zone, and cool zone. Both gas and charcoal grills can be easily set up for three heat zones.

Indirect Grilling Ideas                       

Grilled Turkey and Chicken

Roasting a turkey or chicken doesn’t have to take up the entire oven! Try grilling them instead. You’ll need multiple pairs of tongs, ovenproof gloves, a basting brush, and a probe thermometer to cook these birds to perfection.


Grilled Ribs

Whether you use a dry rub or wet mop to baste your ribs, slow-roasting them means they’ll be juicy and tender. Get a few rib racks to maximize your grill space, and, if you’re planning on elevating your rib cooking, also buy some tongs, a mop brush, a spray bottle, a smoker box, and wood chips.


3. Direct/Indirect Combination

Sear foods directly over the heat source, before transitioning to indirect grilling, allowing larger pieces to cook all the way through, without burning on the outside.


Direct/Indirect Combination Ideas

Grilled Pizza

For grilled pizza, buy a ball of dough from your local Italian restaurant, or make your own from scratch. Stretch the dough until it’s thin, baste it with oil, and then carefully transfer it to the grill’s hot zone. Toast the crust for a few minutes, until crisp and golden, then flip it over to cook the other side.

Once the dough is lightly charred, transfer it to the grill’s cool zone, top with your favorite toppings, close the lid, and cook indirectly for a few minutes.


Grilled Sweet Potato

To grill a sweet potato, cut the potato into quarters, brush it with oil, season with salt and pepper, and then place it straight on the grill’s hot zone. Turn it occasionally to make sure that it chars evenly. Once charred, transfer it to the cool zone to let the potato cook through. Baste it with a little cinnamon and honey for a sweet and savory side dish.

Grilled Steak

Chef Spears lists steaks as his go-to grilled dish. He uses a direct/indirect grilling combination to cook it to perfection. “I always have a grill set for two kinds of heat. I have a zone set for high heat, alongside a medium heat spot. I love to sear steaks on the hot zone, then move them to the medium zone to finish cooking,” he says.


You Can Grill That? More Ideas for What to Grill

Looking for something outside the box? Here are a few non-traditional foods to grill that are just as tasty as burgers and dogs:


  • Oysters
  • Clams
  • Mussels
  • Pro Tip: “I love to grill pretty much anything, but I find a well-perfected cedar-plank salmon keeps making its way back into the mix around my backyard extremely often,” says chef Bonnell.



  • Baked potatoes
  • Corn on the cob
  • Avocado
  • Garlic



  • Pineapple
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Watermelon

Pro Tip: Chef Spears encourages creativity when it comes to grilling. “We’ve used a grill for everything! I love to grill fruits for dessert, such as pineapples and bananas. You can even use a flat plate and cook bread on the grill,” he says.


Vegetarian Dishes

  • Pizza
  • Tofu
  • Quesadillas

Pro Tip: Always add the sauce at the end. Sugary sauces can burn if applied too soon. Apply sauces to your foods during the last two to five minutes of cooking.

Related Stories
The Complete Guide to Father’s Day Grilling: Grilling vs. Smoking vs. BarbecuingThe Complete Guide to Father’s Day Grilling: Understanding the Different Types of GrillsThe Complete Guide to Father’s Day Grilling: Choosing Your Ideal Grill and Grilling AccessoriesThe 27 Absolute Best Grilled Fish and Shellfish RecipesThe Ultimate BBQ — For Vegetarians

The more you use your grill, the better you’ll be at grilling. Chef Spears says: “Great grillers use their grills as much as possible… growing more confident each time. Get out and use that grill, and use it often!”