This was written by August Escoffier the famous French chef in the early 1900s--- excerpt from Escoffiers Le Guide Culinaire

2183 Grilling

This excerpt was taken from Escoffiers Le Guide Culinaire and it still holds true today!

The culinary preparations carried out under this title are classified as concentrated cooking, in fact the main objective being attempted in grilling is to keep the juices inside the pieces of meat being grilled.

Grilling which is actually roasting over an open fire is the most primitive form of cooking and the basis of departure for more advanced culinary methods. It was the first idea to be born in the mind of prehistoric man as progress brought forth an instinctive desire to eat better cooked foodstuffs. A little later on in time was born the logical sequence of this first experiment of grilling, the spit, and already in bringing it into being, man's innate intelligence took over from primitive instinct.

Reason deduced the consequences and experience brought the conclusions and cookery advanced along the road which since then it has continuously followed.

Fuels for Grilling: The kind of fuel most often used and also the best, is charcoal. The main point about the choice of fuel for grilling is that it should not contain anything likely to give off smoke even though there may be a strong ventilation system attached to the grill which extracts it efficiently.

It is necessary to introduce an artificial draught into the grill if it is lit in the open although this is a rare occurrence; the reason is obvious because if the smoke produced by any foreign material in the fire or by fat dropping on the flaming charcoal were not extracted by artificial ventilation or a strong natural draught, it would inevitably impart a bad taste to the food being grilled.

A grill may he fired by fuels other than charcoal and alternative fuels can he just as good if they are used carefully.

The Bed of Fuel: The arrangement of a bed of fuel under a grill is of some importance. It should not only he regulated according to the nature and size of the item to be grilled but also in such a manner as to allow the production of more or less heat. according to circumstances. Thus the bed should he arranged in an even layer in the centre but varying in thickness according to whether the fire should be more or less fierce. It should also be raised at those sides which are in contact with the draught of air in order that the entire burning surface may present an equal degree of heat.

The actual metal grill itself should always be placed over the glowing fuel in advance and thus should be very hot when the items for grilling are placed on it. If this is not done the food will stick to the bars and will probably be spoiled when turned over.