While some use the terms “barbecue” and “grilling” interchangeably, the two are actually very different cooking methods. Grilling is hot and fast over direct heat. Barbecuing uses indirect heat and low temperatures that take longer to cook your meats—usually hours. If you want to be the master of your gas grill, there are a few things to try.
Types of Foods to Barbecue Low and Slow
Larger fattier cuts of meat like beef briskets, pork shoulders or butts, and ribs are great for the low-and-slow method.
Don’t Crowd Your Food
Because barbecuing relies on indirect heat, you need to allow plenty of room for the smoke to penetrate the meat. So rather than pile on the ribs, keep it to just a few racks or whatever can reasonably fit on the indirect side of the grill.
Only Turn on Half the Burners
Use at least a three-burner grill. A four-burner grill is ideal. For three burners, light one burner and cook the food on the opposite cooler side. For four burners, light two adjacent burners and cook the food on the opposite cooler side.
Keep the Temperature Low
For the low and slow method, keep your grill between 200 and 250 degrees. Depending on weather conditions such as cold and wind, the burners lit will need to be set at low or medium.
Don’t Rush It
It really depends on the meat, the heat and the weather, but it will take a minimum of 3-4 hours for ribs and up to 12-14 hours for a pork shoulder or brisket when cooking at 225 degrees.
The Hybrid Approach
You can start your meat on the grill and let the smoke work its magic until the internal temperature of the meat is about 140 degrees and then finish it in a 225-degree oven.
Add a little deep flavor by smoking wood next to your meat in a smoker box.
Tip: Foods like roasts that have a lot of juices need a drip pan to catch the drippings. You can use an aluminum foil pan over the unlit burners. Depending on the grill, the vaporizer bars might need to be removed to make room for the pan.