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Outdoor Roasting on the Grill

By Cook's Illustrated Published March 2008

Follow these tips to transfer our foolproof roasting methods from the oven to the grill.

The oven isn't your only option for roasting meat. For tender cuts that don't require slow cooking over low heat, such as beef tenderloin, the grill works just as well. Grill-roasting relies on indirect heat between 300 and 400 degrees (in contrast to true grilling, which occurs at temperatures in excess of 500 degrees). Coals are banked on one side of the grill, and meat roasts on the "cool" side, with the lid kept down to trap heat and create an environment much like the oven. With a gas grill, the primary burner is kept on and the others are turned off.

Secrets to Success

1. Season, let meat stand 1 hour, and tie before grill-roasting.

For lean cuts of pork, skip the salt and brine the meat before placing it on the grill

2. Use wood chunks or chips to enhance smoky flavor.

While charcoal will impart some flavor to the meat, wood chunks or chips are necessary to achieve true smokiness (especially with a gas grill). Place soaked, drained chunks directly on charcoal; wrap wood chips in a foil packet poked with holes (or place in a foil tray for a gas grill). To keep the fire burning as long as possible, we also prefer to use briquettes rather than hardwood charcoal.

3. Bank coals on one side of grill.

Many recipes recommend banking coals on both sides of the grill. We find the edges of large roasts can burn with this method. We prefer to transfer all coals to one side of the grill, leaving half of the grill free of coals so meat can cook without danger of burning. To ensure even cooking, it is a good idea to rotate the meat halfway through cooking.

4. Use vents to regulate heat.

To help regulate heat, adjust vents on both the lid and grill bottom. We prefer to close vents partially to keep the coals from burning up too fast and to help the grill retain heat.

Banking the coals on one side of the grill and rotating the roast will promote even cooking.

Done in 281 ms! 61.385 KiB - 7.5% = 56.776 KiB