What You Must Know About The Temperature of Your Grill
Without a thermometer, how can you know the right temperature to BBQ?
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Controlling the temperature of your grill is a challenge for even the most experiencing BBQ chef. Most men will grunt and tell you the hotter the better, but the truth is that temperature matters.
Here's some tips on how to tell what temperature your grill is, and info on the ideal for different types of meat.
Some Temperature Facts
Some grills can reach temperatures of 650 degrees, but generally anything over 300 degrees is safe to cook meat on.
Higher heat does sear the meat and trap the juices inside, but if it's too high, the meat burns on the outside before it's done on the inside.
The temperature also varies inside the grill. The part of the grill that is directly over the heat source is called direct heat. Areas of the grill that are not directly over the heat are called indirect heat. Depending on the meat you are cooking, you may need to use one or the other, or even both.
Estimating Your Grills Temperature
Telling the temperature on a charcoal grill is more difficult, since there's no thermometer. However, you can easily get an estimate of your grills heat by using this simple test. Hold your hand over the center of the coals. The amount of time you can hold your hand in place gives you an idea of its heat.
10+ seconds is low heat.
6-8 seconds is medium heat.
2-4 seconds is high heat.
Temperature Guidelines for Chicken
Medium heat is ideal for cooking chicken. This type of meat tends to cook more quickly, so if the temperature is too high, the outside will be done while the inside is still undercooked.
To cook chicken well, it's usually best to start with direct heat in a high temperature area. This helps quickly cook the outside and seal in the juices. Once the outside is all browned, you should move it to an area of indirect heat to let it fully cook.
Temperature Guidelines for Beef and Pork
Beef and pork should be cooked at high heat. Beef needs a high temperature to cook well, but make sure to only turn beef once, so it doesn't dry out. Steaks that are less than an inch thick should only be cooked for two to three minutes on each side.
Barbeque Bob's Rule of Thumb: Do not use a fork to turn beef on the grill, since the puncture holes will allow the juices to leak out. Use tongs or spatulas for steaks or hamburger patties.
Temperature Guidelines for Seafood
Seafood should be cooked over medium heat. Direct heat is best at first to sear the surfaces, and then move it to indirect heat to finish cooking. Depending on the thickness of the meat, seafood should be cooked over a medium temperature grill for 3-6 minutes per side.
Once you learn to estimate your grill temperature and the proper temperatures for cooking each item, you can make sure that your meat will always be cooked correctly without being overdone.