HOME > Chowhound > BBQ, Smoking, & Grilling >

How to Simulate Indirect Heat on a Gas BBQ

allanc Aug 2, 2009 10:19 AM

I own a WEBER ''Q" gas BBQ.
It does not have multiple burners so I cannot create indirect heat with its controls.
I want to BBQ 'Beer Can Chicken' and I have just enough enough height to close the lid.
Unfortunately, the instructions clearly state that I need indirect heat.
All suggestions are really appreciated.
Thank you in advance.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. c
    Crispy skin RE: allanc Aug 2, 2009 10:21 AM

    Unless you have more than one burner your screwed.

    1. m
      mwagner79 RE: allanc Aug 2, 2009 10:48 AM

      take a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil, fold it in half or even in thirds and place it under your food and put the burner on low(i like putting soaked woodchips around it too).
      I've cooked meatloaf on my WeberQ like this. I put the foil directly on the grill grate, put a small rack on the foil that sits about 2cm above the foil and put the meatloaf on that rack. Turns out awesome, I'm sure you can use the same technique for the chicken. Good luck!

      9 Replies
      1. re: mwagner79
        allanc RE: mwagner79 Aug 2, 2009 10:54 AM

        I do not have any latitude in the height to raise the stand off the surface.
        Do you think that matters?

        1. re: allanc
          tommy RE: allanc Aug 2, 2009 11:18 AM

          buy a chicken that is 2 cm shorter than the one you have and it should fit.

          1. re: allanc
            Paulustrious RE: allanc Aug 2, 2009 01:45 PM

            You can always chop an inch off the nose of the chicken. Is it possible to remove the grill and place something like firebricks, a pizza stone or a cast iron skillet over the burners on one side? A skillet would also do a good job of catching the juices keeping the bbq cleaner. I often use a griddle plate on my bbq for this reason (amongst others).

            1. re: Paulustrious
              allanc RE: Paulustrious Aug 2, 2009 07:47 PM

              This particular BBQ only has a burner (no lava stones, etc).

          2. re: mwagner79
            allanc RE: mwagner79 Aug 3, 2009 05:53 PM

            A while ago, I went to a high end BBQ store and posed my initial question.
            The 'consultant' said 'no way' without more than one burner.
            Just goes to show you .....

            1. re: allanc
              RGC1982 RE: allanc Aug 5, 2009 12:39 PM

              They probably want to sell you a new grill.

            2. re: mwagner79
              allanc RE: mwagner79 Aug 26, 2009 05:44 PM

              We *finally* tried the beer-can chicken using the folded heavy-duty aluminum foil.
              I would estimate that the foil (with the chicken stand) occupied about 80 percent of the cooking surface.
              It was really good but had lost some of its juiciness.
              When we cut into the meat to check for doneness, a lot of juice escaped.
              Also, I preheated the Q to 350.
              However after I opened the hood and closed it again the temperature (according to the built in thermometer rested at about 250 for the full 1.25 hours.
              Any suggestions?

              1. re: allanc
                ktb615 RE: allanc Aug 29, 2009 07:38 AM

                Maybe not exactly the type of suggestion you are looking for, but you never want to cut into meat to check doneness. As you experienced, you will lose all the juice. A probe thermometer is pretty good for checking, though some juice still escapes. Even better is a cake tester (such as the ones available at JB Prince, and probably BB&B as well). Simply stick it in the fat part of the meat and leave it for five seconds, then pull it out and put it on your lip. Train yourself to understand what the different temperatures feel like on your lip, i.e: cold = raw, no distinguisable temp = rare, just warm = mid rare, warm = medium... etc, etc...

                1. re: ktb615
                  allanc RE: ktb615 Aug 29, 2009 11:14 AM

                  I have an 'instant' thermometer which isn't very 'instant'.
                  After about 30 seconds in the bird, the temp was still climbing.
                  That is when we decided to make the small incision.

            3. tommy RE: allanc Aug 2, 2009 02:36 PM

              use an oven. you gain nothing by using a grill as an oven unless you're introducing smoke.

              3 Replies
              1. re: tommy
                allanc RE: tommy Aug 2, 2009 07:52 PM

                Isn't a BBQ convention?
                Also, the broiler element on our oven doesn't work right now :(.

                1. re: allanc
                  jzerocsk RE: allanc Aug 3, 2009 07:23 AM

                  Indirect heat is analagous to baking, so you wouldn't need the broiler.

                  1. re: jzerocsk
                    allanc RE: jzerocsk Aug 3, 2009 05:50 PM

                    Thank you for the clarification.

              2. r
                RGC1982 RE: allanc Aug 3, 2009 01:37 AM

                You may be able to shield the bird a bit by using one of those metal holders. They sell for about 15 to 30 dollars, and are essentially dishes with a tall center insert. Although there are holes in the bottom, if you set your grill on low and consider using lava stones to fill the holes to absorb some of the direct heat coming from the burner, you may be okay. You will need to check your bird frequently, and possibly watch it for the first half hour to see if it is working.

                I have a multi-burner Weber unit, and usually have success with an old-fashioned beer can when I turn off the center burner, but when I bought a new grill this year, the nice new clean burner holes caused the heat to be too high for my bird, and it caught fire. In only a few minutes, it was ruined. I did turn off the burner that was directly under the bird, but it burned anyway. I was just used to cooking on the old grill, (same Weber, only older) and didn't realize that the burner holes were probably not clear enough to have ever been a hazard to the bird.

                I am thinking about getting one of these gadgets for that reason, It will shield the bird a bit because it is metal, and that could only help. Plus, if you add a single layer of lava stones, no flame will actually touch the bird directly no matter what happens. If you put the lava stones in after putting the bird on the holder, it should not affect overall height. Amazon had some cheap ones, and I think for you it is worth a try. For me, this would just be insurance, as I have since managed to cook a couple of these without incident.

                BTW -- use smaller birds if height is an issue. They cook faster and come out better anyway.

                1. MikeB3542 RE: allanc Aug 31, 2009 11:22 AM

                  Another Idea would be to spatchcock the bugger!

                  To be brief, cut the backbone out with a pair of shears, and flatten the carcass out -- use a cleaver to split the keel bone. Season the chicken well and wrap in two layers of foil. Put on the grill on lowest setting, skin side up. Roast until done (poke a hole in the foil to check doneness with a thermometer.

                  For color and flavor, crank the heat, take the chicken out of the foil (save the juices) and place skin side down directly on the grill to get it nice and crispy.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: MikeB3542
                    allanc RE: MikeB3542 Sep 1, 2009 09:20 AM

                    But then it wouldn't be 'Beer Can Chicken'!

                  2. g
                    getoile RE: allanc Jul 6, 2013 10:01 PM

                    Try this. For a Weber Q100 single burner grill, buy a 12 inch Cuisinart pizza stone. Place a 12 x 8 piece of double or triple thickness aluminum foil on the grill.
                    Top this with a 8 x6 trivet, which allows an air gap. Place pizza stone on top. Preheat all from cold. Raise to 450F or more.
                    Prepare pizza as desired, probably precook toppings in fry pan. Place toppings on fresh or thawed pizza shell.
                    Bake until cheese topping starts to run. Do not overcook.
                    See Weber Site in Australia for more info on using method for roasts as well as pizzas.
                    Works for me!

                    1. g
                      getoile RE: allanc Sep 5, 2013 09:50 AM

                      For great ideas on use of Weber Q100single burner gas grill refer to:. Weberbbq.com.au
                      Also refer to Weber UK site for similar ideas.
                      I contacted Weber US re lack of these ideas on their site and was advised there are different cooking standards in each country. Maybe it is a legal problem.
                      Personally, I can't see much difference in cooking standards.
                      Good luck and good eating!

                      1. g
                        getoile RE: allanc Sep 5, 2013 09:58 AM

                        See videos on weberbbq.com.au for use of Weber Q series of grills simulating indirect heat for cooking.
                        I have tried them and they are excellent. Just make sure you use an instant read thermometer to check for doneness.
                        No worries, mate!

                        1. John E. RE: allanc Oct 5, 2013 07:27 PM

                          The solution is to skip the beer can chicken, it's a novelty. The beer, or any liquid, never gets hot enough to do anything to keep the chicken moist. All it is is a chicken cooked upright. As someone else here mentioned, spatchcocking the chicken is thefastest and easiest way to roast a chicken. The bonus is you get to keep the backbone in the freezer to make chicken stock.

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: John E.
                            monkeyrotica RE: John E. Oct 6, 2013 05:10 AM

                            This. Try both and see which works. I gave up the beer can in favor of spatchcocking with a pair of kebab skewers years ago.

                            1. re: monkeyrotica
                              JMF RE: monkeyrotica Oct 6, 2013 09:10 AM

                              Same here. Research has shown that the liquid in "beer can" chicken is useless. I like to spatchcock now as well, and the chicken cooks faster, with a crisper skin, and juicier inside.

                            2. re: John E.
                              c oliver RE: John E. Oct 6, 2013 09:10 AM

                              But don't you still need indirect heat which the OP doesn't have?

                              My one experience with beer can chicken was a mess. Oh, it cooked fine but carrying it all in from the patio I dropped the whole thing! Glad we had tile floors.

                              1. re: c oliver
                                John E. RE: c oliver Oct 6, 2013 11:31 AM

                                No, I cook spatchcock or chicken pieces on direct, low heat. I too once dropped a sheet pan containing not one, but two beer can chickens. I'm glad of two things, a new sidewalk made with concrete pavers, and everyone else was inside and was unaware of the 15 second rule.

                                1. re: John E.
                                  monkeyrotica RE: John E. Oct 7, 2013 07:04 AM

                                  It only took one beer can drop to make me give up on it. The other advantage to spatchcocking is that it makes carving much easier. I've found that if you remove the wishbone before cooking, I can remove all the breast meat from the carcass in one motion. Instant filets.

                                  1. re: monkeyrotica
                                    John E. RE: monkeyrotica Oct 7, 2013 11:47 AM

                                    I learned the removing the wishbone trick from Jacques Pepin. I even spatchcock turkeys. We do not host Thanksgiving though. I bet some in my extended family would claim that would ruin Thanksgiving.

                                    1. re: John E.
                                      monkeyrotica RE: John E. Oct 8, 2013 07:55 AM

                                      I've done Julia Child's Deconstructed Turkey. Never had any complaints and cooking is done in a fraction of the time as doing a whole bird.


                                      1. re: monkeyrotica
                                        John E. RE: monkeyrotica Oct 8, 2013 11:41 AM

                                        I remember watching that episode. I boned and stuffed both chicken hind-quarters and also removing the turkey hind-quarters and stuffing them, although I used a bread stuffing.

                                        There is also a Pepin video where he shows how to debone a whole chicken and stuff and tie it up to roast. I have done both chickens and turkeys that way. My intent is to eventually make my own turducken.


                            Show Hidden Posts