Low & Slow: How to Grill Over Indirect Heat

smoked turkey legs on a grill


Turkey Smoke Team

When you’re putting a big cut of meat on the grill, a hot fire directly under your food isn’t what you want. Higher temperatures have their place for a quick sear or those burgers, hot dogs and turkey tenderloins, but otherwise you want to keep it low(er) and slow(er). That’s where indirect heat can help step up your grilling game.

Using indirect heat allows you to cook at more moderate temperatures, maintaining the perfect amount of heat and keeping your masterpiece from burning. The concept behind indirect grilling is pretty simple. Instead of cooking directly over the heat source, you cook adjacent to it. It’ll take longer, but the results are worth it

Getting Started

Here’s what you need to know to get started for both charcoal and gas grills.

Charcoal Grill

To set up a charcoal grill for indirect cooking, arrange hot coals around the outer edge of the grill or on one side. Use our Indirect Heat Guide as a reference for your coal placement. Place your turkey in the center of the grill or the open space. Close the lid to cook.

Gas Grill

To set up a gas grill for indirect cooking, preheat all burners on high. Turn one burner off. Reset remaining burner(s) to medium or the appropriate temperature. Place your turkey over the off burner. Close the lid to cook.

With the right amount of heat, you’re ready to tackle that whole bird, breast or even turkey legs. Get your grill on.

Pro Turkey Tip: Try grilling your turkey in a disposable aluminum foil pan to catch any drippings. And always keep a clean grill to help prevent sticking or burning!

indirect heat guide