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Two-Zone Cooking & Grilling Times

Get the perfect grill every time with our expert guide on using the two-zone cooking method, which combines the use of direct and indirect heat.

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Two-Zone Cooking & Grilling Times

Keep this article on hand (along with an instant-read meat thermometer) to ensure fast and delicious grilled food every time. First, set yourself up for two-zone cooking. Then, starting with direct heat (unless indicated otherwise), grill according to our suggested times, flipping halfway through each zone’s cook time. There are many variables, so cook times may differ slightly. Just make sure your food is up to temp before digging in!



Two-Zone Cooking


If we had to name the most important grilling technique, it would be two-zone cooking. For thicker cuts of meat, this method will give you a delicious seared crust over direct heat while allowing you to finish the job over the indirect zone for juicy, tender perfection. Some quick-grilling foods may not need both areas, but you should still leave a cooler zone on the grill to protect against flare-ups. Learn about protecting against flare-ups and other great tips in our 5 Steps to Become A Grillmaster article.

Gas Grill

Preheat to medium-high then turn off a burner or two (depending on the size of your grill).

Charcoal Grill

Push hot coals to one side, creating a gently sloping mound.


BeefDirect Heat TimeIndirect Heat TimeInternal Temp
Ground Beef Patty, ¾-inch thick4-6 min4-6 min160°
Hot Dog, precooked2-3 min4-6 min (Start with indirect heat)-
Steak, 1-inch thick8-12 min-145°
PorkDirect Heat TimeIndirect Heat TimeInternal Temp
Bratwurst, fresh2-3 min15-20 min (Start with indirect heat)160°
Bratwurst, precooked3-5 min8-10 min-
Pork Chop or Steak, ½ to ¾-inch thick6-8 min-145°
Pork Tenderloin, 1 pound6-10 min 15-25 min145°
PoultryDirect Heat TimeIndirect Heat TimeInternal Temp
Boneless Chicken Breast, pounded ½-inch thick6-8 min-165°
Chicken Pieces, bone-in6-10 min25-30 min165°
Ground Chicken or Turkey Patty, ¾-inch thick4-6 min4-6 min165°
SeafoodDirect Heat TimeIndirect Heat TimeInternal Temp
Fish, Filet or Steak, 1-inch thick8-12 min-145°
Shrimp, raw4-8 min-145°
VegetablesDirect Heat TimeIndirect Heat TimeInternal Temp
Asparagus6-8 min--
Bell Pepper, whole10-12 min--
Corn, husked10-12 min--
Corn, in husk25-30 min--
Onion, ½-inch slices5-8 min--
Portobello Mushroom, whole10-15 min--
Squash/Zucchini, ½-inch slices6-10 min--
Tomato, medium, whole5-8 min--

Tips From the Expert

Bill Head, Schnucks Vice President, Meat & Seafood

Schnucks Signature Sausage

Our butchers grind fresh meat in store. Then, they hand mix it with spices using our own signature recipes. It's never frozen, with no preservatives or MSG! Each bratwurst is stuffed in natural casings, then hand twisted by our butchers.

Schnucks Kabobs

Schnucks kabobs are pre-assembled by our butchers and are the perfect way to serve up a complete dinner or a fun and tasty appetizer. Don't see the protein you want? Ask your local Schnucks butcher! Our butchers can assemble most protein options.