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How to grill super-fatty meats without over- or undercooking?

damian | May 17, 201203:38 PM

I'm pretty good at grilling steak and seafood, but I have a lot of trouble grilling two of my favorite meats—pork belly and beef short ribs—which happen to be two of the fattiest meats on the planet.

The problem is flare-ups. The flare-ups burn the meat and deposit bitter soot.

I cook over lump charcoal. If I cook over the coals, I get the flare-ups. If I cook to the side of the coals, the meat doesn't get fully browned, because it doesn't get hot enough. Even if I put coals on one half of the grill and a drip pan on the other half, and move the meat to the cool side as soon as the flare-ups start, it's still too late: the meat gets burnt and sooty no matter how quickly I move it away from the flare-ups.

I imagine that there must be some technique or, more likely, equipment that will drain the fat away from the coals but still allow the meat to get heated by the coals. Yes?

I imagine the Koreans or Japanese have some good solutions to this vexing problem. Maybe Japanese ishi-yaki (hot stone grilling) is the way to go, if I want to cook as caveman as possible?


1. I don't use marinades, seasonings, bastes, brines, glazes, etc. due to various food intolerances I have and my caveman philosophy. I just throw the meat on the grill, cook it, salt it, and eat it. I don't know whether such adulteration would help, in any way, but regardless, those are steps I'm not comfortable taking.

2. I know some people advise using a spray bottle with water to control flare-ups, but my research and experience suggest that that is not a good idea, for various reasons (e.g., spreading the grease, smothering the fire, limited effectiveness).

3. I imagine someone might suggest using the broiler instead of the grill. This isn't a solution for me because charcoal grilling is my passion, and besides, I don't even own (or want to own) a gas broiler, and my electric broiler sucks.

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