Pinterest Code: 119e79e8f3c084b84b2e03abae041ed4

How to Check Your Grill Surface Temperature?

grilling time

Table of Contents

If you are controlling the strength of fire while cooking, then that can be a daunting task. Several factors affect the temperature of your grill. For instance, the size of your grill, the weather, and the type of charcoal affect grill temperature.

However, the main problem that people face while grilling is determining the right temperatures. It is advisable to wait for some time after lighting the fire. That is to allow the charcoal to ignite and active flames to mitigate. But you still need to find the correct temperatures for cooking specific foods.

So, how can you measure grill surface temperature?

Why Grill Surface Temperature Matters?

Grilling can be a tricky activity, especially for less experienced people. Therefore, there is a need to understand why it is essential to cook at the right temperature. Thus, the grill surface temperature is a crucial factor here.

As you know, grilling temperatures are usually intense. That means whatever you are cooking will brown if you grill at high temperatures. However, there is a difference entwine browning on the outside and cooking inside.

Mostly, grilling at high temperatures leaves the food brown from the outside. Undercooked, cold or dried out food cannot be edible. Meaning, it is essential that you cook at the right temperature. You can only do that if you know how to check the grill surface temperature.

There are two main ways that you can check the grill surface temperature. First, you may use the hand testing technique. Secondly, you can use a grill surface thermometer. Both methods are useful in determining the right temperature.

However, we will examine both of them and determine the best method to use. Remember, temperature accuracy is primary while using a grill.

“Hand Test” to Check Temperature of Grill

Sometimes your grill may come with an in-built thermometer or not. If it does, you can quickly determine the temperature at which the grill surface is burning. Your grill will automatically display the heat as it gets hot.

However, what happens if there is no thermometer? We recommend the hand test technique as an effective way to determine the grill surface temperature.

keep burger from sticking to grill

For this technique, you should find out how long your palm can stay above the burning grill. Essentially, the distance between your palm and the grill should be 3 inches for accuracy.

What you should consider here is the period you can manage to keep your hand in that position. That is without feeling the scorching fire. There are different periods you can do it depending on the temperatures. Then, you can compare it to our chart to determine the grill temperature.

Low (slow)

To determine whether the temperature is low, start by placing your hand at the recommended position. If you can maintain the position for 7 to 9 seconds, then the temperature is low. Here, the thermometer reading should be between 250° F to 300° F.

This temperature is suitable for foods that require gentle cooking. You can cook meals without scorching the exterior but having good interior cooking.


When using the hand check, 6 to 7 seconds above the grill means the heat is medium-low. Also, this is suitable for gentle cooking means. The temperature here lies between 300° F and 350° F. Any lower than this means you are going to low temperatures.

Medium (moderate)

For medium heat, you can keep your palm 3 inches above the grill. Also, you cannot do that for long because you will only manage about 4 to 5 seconds. Longer than this will result in a scorching effect on your skin.

The temperature readings for this level of heat range between 350° F to 400° F. It supports easy cooking of internal parts without burning the exterior.

Medium-high (hot)

The thermometer readings for this level of temperature range between 400° F and 450° F. With this, you can keep your palm above the grill. However, you can only do that for between 2 to 4 seconds. Also, you can cook the interior of foods properly without scorching the exterior.

High (Very hot)

This temperature level cooks foods in a flash. Using the hand testing technique, you can only keep your palm above the grill for 1 to 2 seconds. The thermometer readings for this level are between 450° F to 500° F. We recommend this level of temperature for foods that require a lot of heat for both internal and exterior cooking.

The Most Recommended Way to Ensure the Proper Grill Surface Temperature

As mentioned above, hand testing can be a great way to check out grill temperate. However, you can use a grill surface temp thermometer if you want to be more accurate. Using a thermometer to check the grill temperature is comfortable. However, it can get complicated if you do not follow the right steps.

how to ensure proper grill temperature

Let us look into some of the steps you should follow when using a thermometer.

  1. First, you need to heat your grill to the high-temperature range.
  2. Go ahead and place your ThermoPro Meat Thermometer in the center of your grates. You may leave it there for about 5 minutes.
  3. Take your first reading. Remember, this is your base reading, and you will compare it to subsequent readings.
  4. Use a meat hook or spatula to move your thermometer to the top right corner of your grill. Leave it for about 30 seconds and read the temperature.
  5. Do the same to the top center and top left corner of your grill and note down the readings.
  6. Also, do it thrice like above to the bottom and middle of the grill. Note down every reading.

Now, you know the hottest and lower heat parts of your grill. Cooking different kinds of foods becomes easier, depending on the amount of heat required. Therefore, you will not depend on trial and error methods to cook your food.

Tips for Adjusting the Grill Heat

There is no fancy tool you require to control the temperature of your grill pan. However, knowing how to manage it is crucial. It helps you to cook every type of food effortlessly and still get the desired results. The tips in this article will help you learn how to adjust your charcoal or gas grill heat properly.

Gas grill

Gas grills are generally easy to adjust compared to charcoal grills. That is because gas grills have the knobs that aid heat control. Therefore, you only need to turn the heat up or down as needed. That will primarily depend on the type of food you are cooking.

Also, adjusting temperatures on gas grills is manageable because there are various levels indicated on it. Therefore, you can adapt to the heat levels recommended in the recipe. Mostly, gas grill temperatures maximums stand at 550°F.

Charcoal grill

For charcoal grilling, you do not need any tools. It requires some effort than gas grilling that only involves adjusting knobs. Follow any of these techniques if your temperature does not match the recommended grilling temperature.

  • Reposition the coals. You can use this technique both for cooling down or increasing the heat. If you would like to cool down, spread out the coal. Also, you can push the coals together to increase temperature.
  • Adjust the rack. Sometimes, you may find grills that come with an adjustable rack. You can raise the rack if you want to cool down the heat. Lowering the rack heats the charcoal.
  • Adjust the vents. Grills often come with a top and bottom vent. Opening both vents immensely increases the heat. Opening one of the vents only increases the temperature to some extent. Closing both or one vent cools down the heat.

Final thoughts

Grilling is one of the best ways to cook foods if you know how to do it. One main thing to understand about grilling is temperature control. Controlling temperatures means that your food will cook well both internally and on the exterior.

You can use the hand testing technique to find the right temperature for cooking. However, we recommend the use of a ThermoPro meat thermometer. It helps to get accurate temperature readings to mitigate the chances of getting semi-cooked food. Get this grill surface temperature thermometer for a better cooking experience.

Recommend Reading


Shopping Cart