Aside from the food you’re going to cook, the grill temperature is one of the most important aspects of grilling. Without proper temp control, you will not achieve the best taste and doneness of your food. Regardless if you’re cooking a rare or medium rare steak, you still need to have full control over the heat level of your equipment. Otherwise, you’ll always be eating burned or unsatisfying meals.
Take note that the temp gauge built at the dome of your grill isn’t enough to give you proper readings of your food’s temperature. Such a tool only reads the temperature within the grill’s atmosphere. However, it doesn’t have any means of tracking internal temperatures.
GRILLING TIME AND TEMPERATURE CHART
Grilling Temperature for Beef
When it comes to BBQ beef temperature, you have to be very specific with the cut you’re going to cook. Also, we have to consider if we’re going to cook the beef in direct or indirect heat.
Unlike pork or chicken, feel is stiffer and will take more time to cook. Another challenge is nailing the doneness of the meat. Below, we created a quick guide that you can use when cooking a variety of beef cuts.
|BEEF CUTS||GRILL TEMPERATURE||FOOD TEMPERATURE||GRILLING TIME|
|Beef burgers temp||400F (direct heat)||160F||Around 2 to 5 minutes for ½” thick cuts|
|Filet mignon grill temp||360 to 400F (direct heat)||130F to 170F||Around 3 to 4 minutes for 1” thick cuts|
|Sirloin steak cooking temp||150F (direct heat)||130F to 165F||Around 15 minutes for 3 to 4 lb. cuts|
|New York strip steak temp||360F to 400F (direct heat)||130F to 165F||Around 4 to 10 minutes for 1” thick cuts|
|Flank steak temperature medium||400F (direct heat)||135F (medium rare)||Around 10 minutes for almost all thickness|
|Kabobs temp||350F to 400F (direct heat)||135F to 160F||Around 3 to 4 minutes for 1” cubes|
|Tenderloin temp||400F (direct heat)||145F to 170F||Around 10 to 18 minutes for 4 to 6 lb. cuts|
|Rolled rump temp||380F (direct heat)||135F to 170F||Around 15 to 22 minutes for 4 to 6 lb. cuts|
|Beef brisket temp||360 to 400F (direct heat)||165 F to 175F||Around 1 hour per pound|
Take note that this temperature chart contains the rules of thumb when cooking various beef cuts. Even the best temp to grill hamburgers and the best temperature to grill steak we recommend here may vary depending on the doneness that you prefer.
Specifically, the good temperature to cook steak is dependent on the doneness. As a supplemental guide to the chart above, here’s the cooking temperature and cooking time for steaks. Take note that the perfect steak temp will be different, but the grill temperature is the same at 400F. Also, this guide applies to 1” thick steak cuts:
|DONENESS||INTERNAL TEMPERATURE||COOKING TIME FOR STEAK ON GRILL||INTERNAL COLOR|
|Extra rare||80F to 100F||Around 4 minutes, turn then cook for 2 minutes||Deeply red with a slightly warm feel|
|Rare||120F to 125F||Around 5 minutes, turn then cook for another 3 minutes||Bright red center with a pinkish exterior|
|Medium rare||130F to 135F||Around 5 minutes, turn then cook for another 4 minutes||Pink center but gets brown toward its exterior; hotter to touch|
|Medium well or Medium||150F to 155F||Around 6 minutes, turn then cook for another 4 minutes||Grayish brown color with only a slight hint of pink|
|Well done||160F to 400F||Around 10 to 12 minutes, turn then cook for another 10 minutes or until inner temp becomes 170F||Grayish brown all over|
Additional tips when grilling beef
Grilling Temperature for Pork
For those who are cooking pork, it’s important to know the level of pork grill temp you’d use. Take note that pork has to be fully cooked due to safety issues. Unlike beef, you shouldn’t be served rare pork or medium rare.
The same with chicken, you have to cook pork until it’s brown. However, we have to avoid overcooking or your meals will be dry and too chewy.
So from temperature to cook pork chops on grill to BBQs, we prepared a temp of pork chops on grill guide below to help you prepare good tasting meals without giving someone stomach flu.
|PORK CUTS||GRILL TEMPERATURE||FOOD TEMPERATURE||GRILLING TIME|
|Smoked pork ribs temp||250F to 400F (indirect heat)||170F to 180F||Up to 6 hours for 4 to 6 lb. serving|
|Grilled pork tenderloin temp||400F (direct heat)||145F||Around 10 to 25 minutes (rest for 3 minutes)|
|BBQ pork chops temp||325F to 350F (indirect heat)||145F||Around 2 to 8 minutes (rest for 3 minutes)|
|Pork loin kabobs temp||350 F to 400F (direct heat)||135F to 160F||Around 2 to 4 minutes (rest for 3 minutes)|
|Ground pork patties temp||400F (direct heat)||160F||Around 2 to 5 minutes for ½” thick cuts (rest for 3 minutes)
|Pork ribs temp||350F to 400F (indirect heat)||145F||Around 30 minutes to 2 hours for every 2 lb. serving (rest for 3 minutes)|
|Uncured ham temp||285F (indirect heat)||140F||Around 6 to 10 minutes for 1/2” thick slices|
|Pork belly temp||225F to 300F (indirect heat)||165F||Up to 4 hours for 2 to 4 lb. serving|
|Pork sirloin temp||400F (direct heat)||145F||Around 15 minutes while rotating every 2 minutes|
|Pork sausage temp||150F (direct heat)||160F||Up to 30 minutes, turn every 10 minutes|
Regardless if you’re cooking with pork loin temperature grill or pork chop temp on grill, you have to ensure that everything is fully cooked. Also, letting the meat rest for 3 minutes is necessary so the juice will settle before you slice it.
As for the internal temp for pork tenderloin on grill, never go below the suggested cooking temp. Unlike beef steaks, there’s no other level of doneness to pork, only well done.
Also, for the best temperature to grill pork chops, you should allow residual heat to continue cooking once you pull the meat out of the grill.
Another thing that we have to highlight here is the difference between cooking ground pork and whole pork. Ground pork should be cooked until the internal temperature reaches 155F. As for other burger cuts, it should be cooked up to 160F.
Additional tips when grilling pork
Grilling Temperature for Lamb
Next in this guide is grilled lamb temperature. Since lamb is a sheep that’s less than a year old, the meat is softer and has little fat. These two characteristics are very important considerations when grilling lamb meat. Also, it’s quite normal for lamb meat to vary in color, somewhat ranging from pale red to bright pink.
This shouldn’t be mistaken to mutton, the meat from sheep that’s older than a lamb. Usually, mutton cuts came from sheep that’s at least three years old.
Overall, grilled lamb meat is great for burgers, barbecue, and more. But before grilling this type of meat, brining is necessary so it will be easier to break down its proteins. Also, braising and oven roasting are the preferred methods here since lamb meat is more tender than other meat types.
If you plan to cook lamb, we recommend that you check this grilled lamb chops temperature guide first:
|LAMB CUTS||GRILL TEMPERATURE||FOOD TEMPERATURE||GRILLING TIME|
|Lamb ribs||400F (direct heat)||145F to 160F||Around 4 to 6 minutes, rest for 5 minutes|
|Lamb steak||400F (direct heat)||145F to 160F||Around 3 to 6 minutes, rest for 5 minutes|
|Lamb chops||400F (direct heat)||145F to 160F||Around 3 to 6 minutes, rest for 5 minutes|
|Ground lamb patties||400F (direct heat)||160F||Around 2 to 5 minutes, rest for 3 minutes|
|Lamb kabobs||350F to 400F||145F to 160F||Around 2 to 4 minutes, rest for 3 minutes|
|Lamb sirloin||400F (direct heat)||145F to 160F||Around 3 to 6 minutes, rest for 5 minutes|
|Butterflied lamb||400F (direct heat)||145F to 160F||Around 40 minutes to an hour, rest for 5 minutes|
Take note that the temperature for grilled lamb chops is the same regardless if you’re cooking shoulder or loin cuts. Also, take note that for all the mentioned lamb cuts, the thickness should be 1 inch, in exception to ground patties that should only be half an inch thick.
Additional tips when grilling lamb
Grilling Temperature for Poultry
I’m a big fan of grilled chicken and it’s a dish I always come back to on every grill party I attend. It has tender meat and very versatile when it comes to flavoring.
Aside from chicken, the likes of turkey, duck, goose, ostrich, and emu also offer a mouth-watering option on the table. However, you have to ensure that you cook it right. Because like pork, an undercook poultry meat can wreak havoc to a person’s stomach. Also, poultry has to be fully cooked to kill any bacteria that could be harboring on it.
So to help you out, we created a guide here for grilling chicken breast temp and other cuts. Also, we have included other poultry meat as well as the best temperature to grill chicken in different cuts.
|POULTRY CUTS||GRILL TEMPERATURE||FOOD TEMPERATURE||GRILLING TIME|
|Chicken thigh temperature grill||350F (direct heat)||165F to 180F||Around 10 to 15 minutes, rest for 15 minutes|
|Chicken breast temp||350F (direct heat)||165F to 170F||Around 6 to 8 minutes, rest for 15 minutes|
|Chicken drumstick temp||350F (direct heat)||165F to 180F||Around 8 to 12 minutes, rest for 15 minutes|
|Chicken wings temp (also include winglettes)||350F (direct heat)||165F to 180F||Around 8 to 12 minutes, rest for 15 minutes|
|Whole unstuffed chicken temp||350F (direct heat)||165F to 180F||Around 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, rest for 15 minutes|
|Turkey grill temp (whole)||350F (direct heat)||165F to 180F||Around 2 to 3 hours, rest for 15 minutes|
|Turkey breast temp||350F (direct heat)||165F to 175F||Around hour to 1 hour and 45 minutes, rest for 15 minutes|
|Turkey roll temp||350F (direct heat)||165F to 175F||Around 1.5 to 2 hours, rest for 15 minutes|
|Ostrich/emu patties||250F (direct heat)||160F||Around 3 minutes, rest for 15 minutes|
|Ostrich/emu filet or kabob temp||350F (direct heat)||154F to 150F||Around 3 minutes, rest for 15 minutes|
As you see, the type of cut will affect the BBQ chicken temp setting and cooking time. Also, the resting time of chicken is probably the longest than other meat types. This is due to the fact that the residual heat will keep on cooking the meat even after being removed from the grill. It applies to all grilled poultry cuts, be it for grilled chicken internal temperature, BBQ chicken temperature, or grilled chicken thighs temp.
Also, you have to be watchful as smaller poultry cuts tend to cook faster than other meat types. As for whole poultry, it’s best to use a smoker for even cooking. Always follow the recommended BBQ chicken internal temp.
Additional tips when grilling poultry
Grilling Temperature for Seafood
When it comes to seafood, you have to use high heat to ensure that it’s fully cooked. Take note that you should only use fresh seafood to prevent contamination and potential illnesses.
The good thing about grilled seafood is that it can be consumed straight from the grill. There’s no need for resting time than you’d do in red and white meat cuts.
Just make sure that you always start clean with the grill and avoid stocking seafood for days before cooking it.
Overall, seafood is very easy to cook and it’s less messy than meat. Here, we created a temp guide you can follow. Take note that all seafood items should be cooked in direct heat:
|SEAFOOD||GRILL TEMPERATURE||FOOD TEMPERATURE||GRILLING TIME|
|Whole grilled fish temperature||400F||140F||Around 12 minutes|
|Grilled salmon temperature||400F to 500F||125F to 130F||Around 4 minutes on each side|
|Grilled tuna temperature||400F||140F to 145F||Around 6 minutes on each side|
|Lobster tail temperature grill||400F||145F||Around 8 minutes for 10 oz. size|
|Shrimp temp||400F||145F||Around 6 minutes|
|Tuna steak cooking temp||400F||140F to 145F||Around 6 minutes on each side|
|Halibut grilling temp||400F to 500F||135F||Around 5 minutes on each side|
|Clam grill temp||400F||145F||Around 8 minutes for medium-sized clams|
|Fish kabob temp||400F to 450F||145F to 150F||Around 10 to 15|
Take note that the best temp to grill salmon will vary if you’re preparing it as a steak. Some eat tuna and salmon steaks in medium doneness. However, we highly discourage this if your supply of tuna and salmon isn’t fresh. In this case, the temperature to cook salmon on grill is one for the fully cooked type.
Also, the temperature to grill shrimp is the same even if it varies in size. However, the cooking time might be shorter.
Additional tips when grilling seafood
Grilling Temperature for Veggies
Any grilled fish or meat won’t be complete with a side serving of freshly grilled vegetables. Unlike meat and seafood, veggies are quick-cooking and must be prepared fast to prevent burning or too much wilting.
From the classic method of cooking potatoes on the grill to preparing cauliflower, mushrooms, etc., the following temp guide will be very useful.
|Vegetable||Grill temperature||Food temperature||Grilling time|
|BBQ tomatoes temp||350F (indirect heat)||n/a||Around 3 minutes|
|BBQ mushrooms temp||350F (indirect heat)||n/a||Around 7 to 9 minutes|
|Corn grill temp||350F (indirect heat)||n/a||Around 4 to 5 minutes|
|Asparagus grill temp||350F (indirect heat)||n/a||Around 4 to 5 minutes|
|Bell pepper grill temp||350F (indirect heat)||n/a||Around 4 to 5 minutes|
|Cabbage temp||350F (direct heat)||n/a||Around 10 minutes|
|Eggplant temp||350F (indirect heat)||n/a||Around 5 minutes|
|Cauliflower temp||350F (indirect heat)||n/a||Around 10 minutes|
|Zucchini temp||350F (direct heat)||n/a||Around 5 minutes|
|Onions temp||350F (indirect heat)||n/a||Around 2 minutes|
Again, vegetables are very easy to cook and grill. You can place it beside the meat you’re cooking and take it out after a few minutes. You can settle it on a warming rack so it remains hot before serving.
Additional tips when grilling vegetables
Important considerations when grilling food
Aside from the grilling temperature of specific food items, there are more aspects to consider. The following are important considerations if you want to enjoy sumptuous grilled meals.
Thickness of the food
As much as you want to cook large servings at once, very thick meat cuts are no-nos. We recommend sticking to a maximum of 1.5 inches when preparing your meat cuts. That way, you can easily cook the food, especially if you want a certain doneness.
Nevertheless, this is only applicable for meat cooked in direct heat. The likes of whole chicken, rolled turkey, pork belly, and briskets can be thick since it’s cooked using indirect heat. And since the heat is distributed evenly all over the grill, the meat will be cooked properly. Just take note that the thicker the meat gets, the longer it takes to cook.
Type of food
As we have discussed above, the grill temperature and BBQ cooking times will vary depending on the type of food you’re cooking. Vegetables, being the softest food item, are the fastest and easiest to prepare.
On the other hand, beef and lamb will demand more time. This is the same case with poultry since many of its cuts have to be cooked with indirect heat.
So before you start grilling, make sure that you have considered the type of food you plan to cook. This is especially true if you’re hosting a grill party and has to feed a lot of guests.
Type of grill
One important thing to know when it comes to temperature control is that the type of grill you use will dictate how easy it would be for you to cook. Below, we took a quick rundown on each type of grill and how you can set the right grill meat temperature:
Gas and electric grill
If you’re looking for a grill that’s very easy to control in terms of temperature, you should get a gas or electric grill. These grills have knobs that allow you to set the temperature consistently. Also, you wouldn’t have to deal with the mess of charcoal and ashes.
Also, gas grills can provide a more accurate temperature, not to mention that it can easily achieve high heat within minutes.
On the other hand, electric grills save you from the hassle of connecting a propane gas tank to your grill. Unlike charcoal grill, electric grills can retain consistent temperature even on windy conditions.
Gas and electric grill
Although charcoal grills are messy, it’s the only grill that allows you to achieve the smoky flavor. However, controlling BBQ grill temperature is tricky and challenging with this grill.
The common problem among charcoal grills is it can produce too much heat if you dump too much charcoal at a time. For beginners, charcoal grills mean burned food or raw insides.
Nevertheless, there’s a workaround on this type of grill. You have to mind three things: the vents, the amount of charcoal at a time, and the layering method of the charcoal.
For better temp control, use a small amount of charcoal at a time. Just add more if the lumps have started to turn into ash.
As for layering the coal, an even distribution will give even heat. But for some meat types like beef and pork, you can make use of two different heat zones by adding more charcoal on the other.
Kamado grills are somewhat egg-shaped grills with a ceramic body. This is very popular for those who love smoking whole chickens, turkeys, briskets, and more. And to monitor the barbecue temperature, it comes with a built-in temp gauge on the lid. Also, it has an adjustable vent at the top.
Since Kamado grills are heavily made of ceramic, it can trap heat and smoke better than typical charcoal grills. However, refilling the charcoal on a Kamado is quite difficult as you’ll have to open the grill and lift the grate. But overall, it’s made with a deep structure where you can dump large amounts of charcoal at a time.
Take note that you need to use temp probes with this grill as you’re not supposed to open it frequently.
Smoker grill, on the other hand, are combo types that have the traditional grates as well as a firebox for flavored wood. When it comes to setting the BBQ temp, this is quite the same with charcoal grills.
Again, the key here is controlling the amount of charcoal you add at a time. Take note that smoker grills are useful for hours of indirect heat. It can cook whole turkeys, chicken, and large chunks of beef or pork.
The only biggest challenge with smoker grills is keeping the smoke intact during windy days. Also, it takes practice to master, especially when cooking large amounts of food at a time.
Direct heat vs. indirect heat
When grilling various food items, you’ll come across terms like direct and indirect heat. This refers to the food’s contact to the heat source, which is the grill’s surface.
Direct heat is grilling the food on top of the grill surface. It has full contact to the heat source that allows you to achieve grill marks. Also, direct heat is used on cooking burgers, steaks, some vegetables, sausages, seafood, and more.
If you want a crispy and seared texture, direct heat is the one to use.
On the other hand, indirect heat refers to cooking food by means of smoking or wrapping the food in foil. This is often used in smoking chicken, turkey, and other types of meat. Through this, the food will be cooked evenly without the risk of burning the outsides prematurely.
Indirect heat grilling is also ideal if you want to pack your food with a smokey flavor using various flavored wood.
Resting time refers to a few minutes of letting the grilled food sit so the juices and residual heat will settle. This way, your food will taste better and the juices won’t be wasted once the food is sliced.
Usually, grilled veggies and seafood don’t require any resting period and can be eaten straight from the grill. Meanwhile, beef, lamb, and pork requires around 3 to 5 minutes of rest. On the other hand, poultry requires about 15 minutes of rest regardless of the cut.
Also, the resting time prevents burns and allows you to enjoy the food even more.
Grilling is a delicious way of preparing your food. But for you to enjoy every bite, you have to ensure that the food is cooked properly. This is possible through setting the grill temperature properly based on the type of food you’re cooking. Also, you have to monitor the internal temperature of the food using meat probes. With that, you won’t be disappointed with the taste and doneness of your food.