Grill Temperature Control

Our insider tips help you master the heat on your charcoal grill so you have perfectly cooked food every time. Once you've gotten the hang of controlling grill temperature, try out your skills with one of our delicious grilling recipes.

With our insider tips, heating things up (and cooling them down) on your charcoal grill is almost as easy as turning a knob on a gas grill.

When summer cookout season rolls around, it's a good time to brush up on your grill skills or learn basic techniques if you're new to grilling. While you're cooking, it's important to monitor the temperature of the grill so your food cooks properly. Although turning a knob on a gas grill is easy, these simple tricks will help you achieve the perfect temperature on a charcoal grill, too.

Taking the Temperature

Many grills come with a thermometer built into the cover, which is great for indirect grilling. If you don't have one, you can buy a thermometer to put inside the grill.

The Hand Method

No thermometer on hand? Hold your hand above the grill about the height of a soda can. See how long you can keep it there comfortably. (For safety, immediately pull your hand away when it feels too hot!)

  • 2-4 seconds: Hot
  • 5-7 seconds: Medium
  • 8-10 seconds: Low

Adjusting the Heat

If the temperature isn't what you want, here are three ways to adjust it:

1.  Reposition the coals

  • To cool down: Spread out the briquettes.
  • To heat up: Push the coals together.

2.  Adjust the rack (some grills come with an adjustable one)

  • To cool down: Raise the rack away from the coals.
  • To heat up: Lower the rack closer to the coals.

3.  Adjust the vents

  • To cool down: Close the top vent a little to allow less oxygen in.
  • To heat up: Open the vent wider to allow more oxygen in.
  • To heat up even more: Open both top and bottom vents.

Grilled Recipe Ideas

Now that you can handle the heat, wow your friends and family with one of these grilling recipes:

Grilled Appetizers

Grilled Fish Recipes

Grilling Menus

Grilled Burgers


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