They were not coals, not flames. I think the picture (because taken from above?) makes it look more like an active fire, than it really was. You can see some flames in the top of the pic, because those are the burning logs, and when they are more like coals, they go under cooking area. I knew in advance that spouse was getting new outdoor grill plates for our fire pit, but they only extend to the midpoint of the fire pit, so it is easy to have an active fire and hot cooking coals in the same pit. In addition, we invert a deep roasting pan over the cooking meat so that hot air is circulating around the meat, helping to cook it, but the pan is not touching the meat.you grilled over direct heat, not indirect? Why? Not judging just asking.