Indirect vs. Direct Cooking – Which is Used for BBQ

When it comes to achieving a quality BBQ flavor, it’s all about how you cook it. Even the highest quality meat will taste terrible if you cook it wrong.

For cooking meat, you need heat, and there are two methods of adding it: directly and indirectly. As we’ve said before, there’s a lot of science happening in BBQ. These methods produce different chemical and molecular reactions, which in turn produce different tastes and textures.

Let’s take a closer look at each method:

Direct Cooking

Generally speaking, direct cooking refers to grilling or cooking on an open fire. The meat is exposed directly to the source of heat, whether it’s a gas flame, charcoal, or burning wood. It’s hot and fast, with the exterior becoming seared and browned (and eventually, black if you go too long).

The main advantage here is speed and simplicity. Light a grill, throw the meat on, add some seasoning, and a few minutes later, you’re eating.

However, this convenience comes at a cost. If the heat is too high or the meat is too thick, you may end up with a burnt outside and an undercooked inside. Also, because the fibers of the meat are changing so quickly, the moisture may evaporate and leave you with a dry, chewy end product.

Indirect Cooking

As you might be able to guess by this point, indirect cooking involves a more ambient application of heat. For people at home, that means an oven or a crockpot, but for true BBQ-ers, it means a smoker. Because the heat isn’t coming from a direct flame, the temperature is lower. Also, the cooking environment is enclosed, with the heat surrounding the meat, seeping into it, cooking it from the inside out.

Recently, we talked about ‘low and slow cooking’. That is what indirect cooking is.

The temperature is lower and the cooking process is slower. While it takes more time, the results tend to be worth it. Meat that’s cooked indirectly is tender and juicy, practically falling apart.

Both Methods are Good. One is a Little Bit Better.

We have nothing against lighting up a grill and cooking a good steak. It’s basically an American tradition. In fact, we cook burgers, brats, chicken breasts and more directly for our catering. But for the true BBQ experience, you need patience and some indirect heat.

This is how our in-house BBQ and signature BBQ catering is made.

Whether you’re dining in or catering BBQ out, Rudy’s is ready with some delicious meats. Indirectly and directly cooked.

True barbeque as practiced in the American South has 4
main ingredients- quality meats, low temperatures, wood
burning for flavor enhancement, and lots and lots of
patience, which is exactly what we do here at Rudy’s
All Glory be to God!