Knowing the Grill’s Temperature
“The Old Hand Test”
The universal way to measure the temperature of the grill would be to hold your hand about three or four inches above the grate then count how long before you’re forced to remove it.
At two seconds or less (400 to 500 degrees) the fire is hot and great for steaks and shrimp, three seconds (350 to 400 degrees) is a medium high heat and great for most fish, four to five seconds (300 to 350 degrees) means a medium range heat which is perfect for poultry and vegetables, seven to eight seconds (275 to 300 degrees) the temperature is low for grilling more delicate vegetables and fruits. Anything after that is the low and slow heat for barbecue about 255 degrees, which lends itself to large roast, brisket and pork shoulders requiring hours of cooking.
The thermometers that come on most grills measure the oven temperature inside the grill when the lid is down. If cooking over direct heat with the lid down a temperature reading would be of reflected heat, not the actual grilling temperature on the grate where the food sits. The top side of the food is cooked at the grills oven temperature, while the bottom side next to the fire is grilled at higher temperatures.
Be careful and don’t touch the grate.