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Today’s topic is about grilling time. Grilling can seem like a no-brainer. One of the simplest ways to make a meal! While the simplicity of grilling is one of the things that makes it beautiful, paying a little extra attention to your meat’s grilling time can bring a meal from good to great. There are eight main factors that influence grilling time: Meat type, cooking preferences, cooking temperature, humidity levels, boned vs. deboned, type of grill, type of fuel, and altitude.
Some of these factors are multifaceted as well, such as meat type – different types of meat bring different thicknesses, diameters, and more! Eight things to consider can seem like a lot, but once we break them down, they’ll feel like clockwork.
Below are the 8 factors that affect grilling time:
First, and perhaps most dynamic, is meat type. Most guides rely particularly on the weight of your chicken, steak, salmon, or pork to determine its grilling time. However, weight is not the only important factor. Thickness and diameter also have a large impact, as well as the presence of fat and connective tissue. Two pieces of pork, for example, may have the same weight, but one may be much thicker while the other is thinner with a larger diameter. These pieces of meat will cook at different times, considering the heat will disperse differently amongst them.
Similarly, a piece of beef with more connective tissue and fat will take longer to cook than one without, especially if you want to taste the benefits of slowly melting that collagen and fat. A fattier piece of meat isn’t a bad thing, but cooking it too quickly can be, and can leave it chewy.
Next is your cooking preferences! This might seem like something easy to account for, but may not come to mind when checking your meat’s packaging or a cooking chart. The grilling pork chops time or grilling salmon time for those who like their meat rare will be much different than the timing for those who prefer their grilling more well done. Take into account cooking for a group, and you’ve got a wide range of grilling times on your hands!
Folks may automatically take this into consideration, but it’s helpful to get everyone’s orders and plan ahead. It helps avoid the risk of overcooking someone’s request for medium rare, or serving yourself a red center when you enjoy your steak well done. A helpful tool, especially when your guests prefer their food on the rare side, is a ThermaPro Food Thermometer. Using a ThermaPro can help you serve guests their preferred style of cooking while also ensuring their rare cut is safe.
Another one that may seem simple is the cooking temperature. A hot grill cooks meat faster, and not all meats need to be cooking on a scalding hot grill. To measure the temperature of your cooking surface accurately, it’s important to have a high quality thermometer. This is where a ThermoPro Food Thermometer can come to the rescue again! Using a food thermometer as you grill allows you to know exactly how hot your meat is, and how fast it’s cooking. If you’re going for a slow and low grill, check your temperature with a ThermoPro! Being aware of the recommended cooking temperatures for your beef, pork, lamb, seafood, and more, can ensure a tasty and food safe meal. We’ve provided links to some charts down below that detail ideal cooking temperatures for various types and cuts of meat.
Believe it or not, the weather while you’re cooking can have an impact on the cooking time of your meat. Think about it – you walk outside and it’s smoldering, with humidity so thick you feel like you’re swimming in thin air. If you’re being impacted by the heat, why wouldn’t your meat? When it’s humid like this outside, moisture evaporates much more slowly off of your food. Thus, its temperature rises and cooking time speeds up. If you’re feeling the humidity and wondering how it’s impacting your grilling chicken breast time, take out a ThermoPro Food Thermometer and check the temperature of your chicken. Higher than you expected? It’s probably cooking faster than anticipated too. Similarly, grilling out in the cold may have your food taking a little slower than is typical.
Boned vs. Deboned
In the world of the grill, eating meat on or off the bone is a case of debate. Most often, the debate is about the taste, but the presence of the bone can impact your grilling time as well. Bones are less dense than the meat itself, making them a not-so-great heat conductor. Thus, meat that has kept the bone in will take longer to cook. The cooking time is often not much different, but be sure to check your temperature charts and food thermometers all the way through.
Type of Grill
Different types of grills can impact your grilling time, too. Often lumped into the same category are barbecuing, grilling, and smoking, although they are all technically different methods of cooking and come with different grilling times for different cuts and kinds of meat. At the same time, a grill and a smoker are entirely different instruments (although you can get some smoky action going in a charcoal grill). Cooking methods aside, the style and brand of your grill will have an impact on your cooking time. Many manufacturers will provide grilling time guides to go along with their grills, and it’s helpful to take these into consideration when figuring out your cook time.
Type of Fuel
The type of fuel your grill uses can have a huge effect on grilling time. Electric grills, for example, often have quicker cooking times in comparison to charcoal or gas grills. Electric grills often heat up quicker and maintain a more consistent temperature due to their electric fuel source. Cooking with charcoal or gas, however, can have more variables and potentially take more time, Folks that embrace the low and slow cooking method are often cooking with fire, be it wood burning or charcoal.
Finally, believe it or not, altitude can have a major effect on cooking time! In higher altitudes, water boils at lower temperatures. This means that moisture will evaporate off of your meat at lower temperatures, and more quickly. If you’re cooking in a higher altitude location, you may have to put in a little extra work or lower grilling temperature to make sure your meat stays moist. Lowering the temperature of your grill will elongate the cooking time of your meat. When cooking with an unfamiliar grill, fuel, or in a new environment, be sure to use your ThermoPro Food Thermometer to be sure that your meat is cooked.
Grilling Time and Temperature Charts
We’ve mentioned these a few times now: charts, charts, charts! Grilling charts are an excellent resource for learning how long to cook each type of meat for, as well as accurately timing the different cooking preferences, cuts, and styles of cooking. ThermoPro provides cookbooks and recipes, overviews of the differences between barbecues and grilling, and of course, a very thorough grilling time chart. They cover beef, pork, poultry, fish and seafood, and even the best methods for grilling vegetables.
For example, below is the beef grilling time and temperature chart.
And here is the pork and chicken grilling time and temperature chart.
The seafood grill time and temperature chart are as follow.
The last one is the vegetable grilling time and temperature chart for veggies.
Grilling. It’s one of America’s backyard pastimes, and is celebrated in diverse ways throughout the country. Different, delicious methods of grilling and barbecuing can be found across every state border, but there’s one thing we can all agree on – it has to be done right! Finding the perfect grilling time and using a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of your meat are two vital steps in supplying your guests with tasty, well-grilled meat. Whether you’re an experienced grillmaster or getting ready for your first backyard barbecue, we hope this article helped you understand how important grilling time can be.