Grilling is a cooking method that involves heating food on top of a metal grate located directly over an open flame, which involves heat transfer via radiation. 


Why grill?


Grilling is a great way to cook healthy meals. It may not remove all the fat from meats, but it allows excess fat to drip off the racks. Grilling also helps food keep more of its vitamins and minerals and seals in moisture, leaving you with a juicy meal without the added fats.

Grilling also infuses a delicious charred flavour on food with much-desired grill marks. 

Last but not least, the act of grilling is associated with outdoor fun! 

But grilling indoors is not a problem for professional chefs and expert home cooks! The essential element is high heat (up to 315C or 600F), creating a smoky, grilled flavour. Commercial kitchens may have commercial grillers and charbroilers that make grilling indoors more convenient. 

Grilling is similar to Broiling, another dry heat cooking method, in that they both produce charred food. But while the heat source from Broiling is from above, the heat source for grilling is from below. 


Heat Sources


Heat sources for grilling can be any of the following:

1. Charcoal

Many claims that cooking on a charcoal grill imparts a rich smoky flavour that is hard to beat. 

If this is your choice, know that there are two main types of charcoal that you need to consider for your grilling need. 

    1. Lump Charcoal: Lump Charcoal is made by slowly burning real pieces of wood in an airtight area until all the natural chemicals, sap, and moisture leaves the wood. All that is left is pure charcoal, which results in easy lighting. They also quickly burn at very high temperatures. However, it cannot sustain high heat for very long. Keep this in mind if you are grilling food that will take a while to cook. You may end up with a final uncooked product in the middle. In this case, you are better off using other methods. But suppose you are looking for that rich smokey flavour. In that case, you can use variants of lump charcoal to impart flavour and aroma to the food, such as mesquite, pecan or applewood.

    2. Charcoal Briquettes: Charcoal Briquettes are pillows of crushed lump charcoal that burn evenly. They last longer, making them excellent for grilling food with a longer cooking time. There are “quick lighting” variants available but know that they often include accelerant or wax, which adds an unpleasant flavour to food. If you prefer an even smokier flavour, add a handful of water-soaked wood chips to the fire. Charcoal Briquettes are not made entirely of wood, which is why they are cheaper. 


Some quick tips when starting charcoal:


  • A chimney starter is excellent for building a fire in your grill. It is a steel cylinder with a handle on its side and a grate built into its bottom. Place the starter with a wad of paper under the grate on the grill. Next, fill the top of the cylinder with charcoal and light the paper. When all the charcoal is alight, carefully pour the coals into the base of the grill.

  • If a chimney starter is unavailable, lighter fluid can be used. Squirt lighter fluid to a mound of charcoal and carefully set it on fire. Distribute the charcoal by raking with a grill brush or spatula.


  1. Firewood


Wood is a well-loved option for grilling enthusiasts because of its versatile flavour range. You can infuse flavour and aroma into your meats depending on the type of wood that you use. For example, Oak adds a slightly nutty and woody flavour while Cherry imparts a mild sweetness.


  1. Gas (Propane or Natural)


Propane typically comes in a 20-pound cylinder at some hardware store or gas station. Grills powered by propane provide ease of use because all you have to do is to turn a knob- no charcoal or matches are needed. Because of this convenience, it provides excellent and consistent temperature control. 

And because no wood element is needed, gas grills will not provide the smoky charcoal flavour typically desired when grilling meats. This is a drawback for those who grill for the intense smokey flavour. 

But interestingly, some chefs think that gas grills are better than charcoal ones for a more charred flavour. This is because gas grills produce a higher heat temperature making for a better sear and charred flavour. 


Heat Application


Now that you’ve started your heat source, how do you expose (or not) your food to the heat? As a general rule, ensure that you leave a portion of the grill free of coals to serve as a resting zone. For a charcoal/wood grill, don’t distribute the coals throughout the grill. For a gas grill, leave one burner off. 

  1. Direct Heat

Food is placed directly over the flame or coals. Foods that cook best using direct heat will cook through before it burns, like steaks, hamburgers, seafood and kebabs.


  1. Indirect Heat

Food is cooked on the grill area without coals or flame. These could be food that needs slower cooking, if doing smoke-roast, or when finishing food that you’ve seared on the outside.


RELATED READ: Pro Chefs Searing Tips For The Best Flavour


Tips to get a flavorful grilled char on your foods


  1. Use a clean grill. 

This seems like a no-brainer, but grills don’t get much love for some reason. The last thing you want is old burnt food bits to get fused with what you are grilling. Clean your grill after grilling is done and the grates are still warm—using a simple wire brush. 

  1. Tools should be at the ready,

For grilling, you can’t beat a pair of tongs. However, you can also use a spatula and a big fork to move things around in the heat. Don’t forget kitchen towels and oven mitts. 

  1. Preheat the Grill

Like ovens, grills must be preheated to get the most out of your cooking. Charcoal grills produce better overall flavour once the coals have reached optimum temperature and colour.

When using charcoal/wood, let it burn until it’s covered with a thin coat of grey ash. Position your hand about six inches above the grill. The coals are ready if you have to pull your hand away in two seconds or less. 

Preheat to high for 10 to 15 minutes when using a gas grill. 

  1. Oil your food, not the grill. 

Lightly oil your ingredients before cooking rather than the grill since excess oil will burn. To quickly manage flare-ups, keep a spray bottle of water nearby, 

  1. Don’t press food down.

Unless pressing down is what you intend to do, like expressing as much grease from the food as possible, be aware that you can squeeze out juices that keep the food moist. 

  1. Keep an eye on your food. 

Grilling involves high heat, and food can quickly burn before you know it. Check meat doneness by using a digital instant-read thermometer. 

  1. Give yourself space.


Have a side table to set up everything you need in one area. This will prevent you from leaving the grill to get the necessary things.


In Summary:

When a smokey charred flavour is desired, grilling is the cooking method that best delivers that. Grilling is a dry heat cooking method where the heat source is from below, using charcoal or gas. Chefs in restaurant kitchens use commercial grills and charbroilers to make grilling indoors convenient and no longer exclusive to outdoors. 

And if you are looking for skilled chefs based in Perth and Western Australia for your chef staffing needs, give us a call at Anytime Chefs

We have a roster of professional chefs that are available as short-term hires for :

  • peak periods
  • events/private parties and celebrations/pizza chefs
  • fill in for an emergency or annual leaves
  • start-up team for opening venues  


Anytime Chefs can also assist you in looking for permanent chef hires by facilitating your recruitment process.

We also offer a Consulting Service to assist you in opening or running the cafe or restaurant of your dreams. 

As part of our team, we have polite, professional Kitchen Stewards to assist you in cleaning and organising your kitchens. 


That’s it for this week.

As always, professional chefs are on call at Anytime Chefs!

Ciao for now,


If you are interested in joining our team, read here for more info!

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