Hot! Hot! Hot!
Let’s be honest, we all love the smell of the grill, the sound of steaks sizzling, we love watching the flames flare up around our burgers and dogs— but all of these tantalizing sights, smells, and sounds don’t necessarily guarantee that he most important sense, taste, will be great as well.
One of the biggest mistakes regularly made by grill lovers, is not taking the time to properly understanding their grill’s temperature. To put it simply, the temperature of your grill can make or break the cook of your food. We’ve put together a very, quick and insightful guide to help ensure you properly understand your grill's temperature, how to read it, and what to cook at certain ranges.
Getting an Accurate Read
Whether you’re a backyard griller or a pit-master, getting an accurate read on your grill’s temperature is vital! If your grill hood has a temperature gauge connected to it, while it looks nice, chances are the temperature isn’t fully accurate. We recommend getting a grill thermometer you can leave on the grates, or a temperature probe. Having a good idea of what your grill’s actual temperature is, will help you better control the cook on your food!
Grill Hood Open or Closed
Leaving your grill hood open (or closed) will certainly affect the temperature. If you leave it open, naturally heat will escape faster and will fluctuate so you might need to use a higher heat than normal or keep a close eye on the temp. Of course, if it’s closed, the temp should stay the same. It’s an issue that can be left up to debate, but at we recommend that the grill hood stays closed.
Heat Range: High-Low
Epicurious suggests, that for quick-cooking foods (kebabs or skirt steaks that'd benefit from fast cooking and frequent turning), you want a grill’s surface for direct grilling to be 450-650°F. This high heat adds some color to the outside of a steak and is more than enough to cook foods in a flash. If you're holding your hand above the grill to check temperature, you'll feel the heat within 1-2 seconds.
For achieving a medium-rare burger with a nice browned crust or a vegetable kebab with a tender interior, go for 375-450°F. That way, you're able to cook a food's interiors without getting the outside scorched. On the hand test, it's 4-5 seconds.
In the case of meats that take longer to cook through (think bone-in chicken) get your grill around 350°F. This moderate temperature will help the interior cook to tenderness without burning the exterior. It's about 6-7 seconds with the hand test.
For foods that need gentler cooking, like slow-cooking brats and sausages without making them explode, "bake" whole potatoes, or slow-cooked pork tenderloin, you need 325°F. On the hand test, it's 7-10 seconds. Any lower, and you're venturing into barbecue territory.
Anywhere from 220-300°F is BBQ Heaven. Cooking at temps this low takes time, think several hours depending on the food. This Low heat is ideal for ribs, briskets, rump roasts—the cuts that are typically fattier, and less used. The low heat and long cooking times takes these cuts from less than desirable to fall off the bone goodness.
Now that you have a basic understanding of your grill and what it's temperature should be—check out some of our favorite Schultz's Gourmet recipes HERE and get grillin!