The most versatile way to cook, the two-zone fire is your first choice for cooking most foods on the grill. To create a two-zone fire, position coals on one side of the grill for direct, high-heat cooking and searing and leave the other side empty. You can use the side without coals for lower-temperature cooking and as a safe zone for flare-ups.
Light your coals using a chimney starter, Match Light® Charcoal or lighter fluid. For high heat, use a full chimney of charcoal or light a pile of about 100 briquets.1
Light the coals.
Pour out your hot coals on one side or use a spatula or tongs to carefully move all the coals to cover 50 percent of the lower grill grate.2
Spread out coals on one side of the grill.
This void space, free of coals directly underneath the grates, is still hot. Food will cook there — just not as fast as on the direct side, right above the coals.3
Leave the other side of the grill coal free.
Use the hot side of your grill for direct cooking with high heat—for example, searing a steak to get good color, caramelization, and grill marks. Use the other side for slow, indirect cooking and to let foods cook through after searing. The coal-free side also serves as a flame-free zone. In case of flare-ups, just move your food to the indirect side until the flames subside, then move them back to the direct side to finish cooking.4
Cook your food on the appropriate zone.