A few years back I wrote an article on sear-roasting a classic technique for searing meat or fish on the stove top and then roasting it in the oven until just done. It’s one of my favourite methods and is easily adapted to the home kitchen. And it’s only natural that after a couple of summers of outdoor cooking, I’ve adapted this formula to the grill.
Your basic one-flip high-heat grilling technique works best for small quick-cooking of meat—think burgers or chicken breasts. Larger —like pork loins beef roasts and whole chickens—have traditionally been saved for the oven for fear on the grill. But by searing them over high heat and then pushing them to a cool zone on the grill to roast these cook gently and evenly. That’s because the covered grill acts almost like an oven with the hot air circulating around the meat. Plus the meat picks up an extra layer of flavor it wouldn’t get in the oven. This method also lets you cook a meal for a crowd out on the patio instead of inside a steamy kitchen.
Sear, then go low and slow
The initial sear on the gas grill or the hottest part of the charcoal fire gives the meat a nice browned crust. Then lower the heat and continue to cook the meat slowly. On a gas grill this means turning off a burner on a charcoal grill, move the meat to a cool area. Cover the grill so the heat inside runs about 350°F and then check the meat every so often and make sure the fire holds steady.
When I grill-roast I add more flavor to the meat in two ways: with a wet spice rub and a flavorful finishing sauce. In the recipes that follow I’ve included a vibrant jalapeño-lime salsa for the pork a tangy barbecue sauce for the chicken, and a garlicky, herby chimichurri for the beef. And because these roasts feed between four and eight people they’re perfect for summer parties. So light up the grill invite some friends and get ready to impress with a new technique—and delicious results.
Watch Grill-Roasting in Action
To really help you get a handle on this new technique we’ve asked Tony to demonstrate grill-roasting using his recipe for sweet Honey Barbecued Chicken.
Grill-Roasting in 4 Easy Steps
Apply the spice rub as directed in the recipe.
2. Prepare the grill
Heat all of the gas grill to medium low or prepare a charcoal with a hot zone and a cooler zone by pushing all the coals to one side of the grill. An oven thermometer resting on the grill grate (over the hot zone of the charcoal ) should register about 450°F with the lid down or you should be able to hold your hand a couple of inches above the grill for 3 or 4 seconds. If it’s hotter than this lower the slightly or let the coals cook down. Brush the grill grates with a stiff brush and then wipe with a lightly oiled wad of paper towels.
Set the meat on the grill (over the hot zone of the charcoal ) cover and cook until it’s nicely browned and easily releases from the grates 5 to 10 minutes. Watch carefully during this stage and if a flare-up occurs move the meat away from the flames until they down. If necessary, squirt the flames with a little water to quench them.
For a three gas grill turn the middle off and set the front and back burners to medium low. For a two grill turn the back burner off and set the front on high.
Move the meat to the cooler zone of the grill—an oven thermometer set on the cooler part of the grill (with the lid down) should register about 350°F—cover and cook until done to your liking. If using a charcoal grill check on the occasionally it may be necessary to add fresh charcoal as the down. Allow the meat to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before carving and serving with the sauce or glaze.