Learning how to grill is a fantastic way to spice up your dinner rotations! To master the grill, one will get quite a bit of advice from barbecue fanatics. Grilling has become a popular hobby for many in recent years. While many factors will make those burgers, grilled chicken, or ribs taste as if a master chef grilled them, one vital thing to learn about is how to work with temperatures on your grill. 



First, it is essential to realize that the hood temperature on your grill has very little to do with the actual cooking temperature. Because the hood temperature is measured at the top of the dome shaped lid that covers your grill, it is several inches away from your cooking surface. Hot air rises, so this temperature is not going to match your desired cooking temperature. In general, you should not rely on the temperature inside the hood of your grill. 



Surface temperature is another temperature that some grilling enthusiasts will talk about when discussing best practices. Some use the “Mississippi” method: Hold your hand three inches above the grate over the zone where you’ll be grilling. Then, start counting “one Mississippi, two Mississippi,” etc. You’ll be able to keep your hand over a hot grill for 2-3 seconds and over a medium grill for 5-6 seconds. This is a good start for determining temperatures, but true pitmasters will want to get more exact temperature readings for their culinary delights. 



You will get more precise temperature readings with a grill surface thermometer. These are available at most hardware stores, but they will need to be replaced every 2-3 months because they get quite dirty. Another option for a more accurate thermometer reading is a point-and-shoot thermometer. These have a laser beam that you point at one of the bars on the grill grate to get a precise temperature reading. 



Once you know how to get an accurate temperature reading on the grill, use this handy list to help you decide the right temperature for your menu!



Low Heat (225 to 250 degrees)

Use for brisket, ribs, pork shoulder, shoulder clod, whole pigs, lamb, or goats.



Medium-Low Heat ((275 to 300 degrees)

Suitable for ribs and pork shoulder.



Medium Heat (325 to 350 degrees)

Perfect for roasts, pork loin, poultry (whole birds), whole fish, large dense vegetables such as cabbage, onions, or cauliflower.



Medium-High Heat ((375 to 400 degrees)

Use for chicken pieces, planked fish, large vegetables.



High Heat (450 to 600 degrees)

Suitable for steak, chops, fish steaks, pizza, chicken breasts, small or high moisture vegetables, or fruit.



Incendiary (650 degrees or higher)

Best for searing steaks and chops



Feel free to make a few adjustments as you wish. Grilling techniques come with experience and skill, so do not be surprised when you see a Pitmaster alter grilling times and temperatures and still present an amazing and tasty dish.



Take a break from your grill, and let us do the work! Come to Southbank Original Barbecue to get inspired by our tasty eats from the grill. We offer delectable favorites such as pulled pork, drummies, wings, ribs, and much more! You’ll find us at 129 E Hydraulic Street in Yorkville, IL. Call (630) 385-2477 for questions or reservations.