How to Control the Temperature on Your Grill

How to Control the Temperature on Your Grill

Once the warmer weather starts to roll around, it’s time to break out the grill for barbeque season. To make sure your grill skills are up to code, you may want to re-learn a few different techniques.

One of those will be knowledgeable on how to control the temperature of your grill. Whether it is charcoal, natural gas, propane, or electric, we got you covered.

In this article, we will guide you on the steps to take to control your grill’s heat and temperatures so you can be the best grill master you can be.

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Charcoal Grills

Charcoal Grills

Charcoal grills will be the most challenging type of grill to learn and apply your knowledge of controlling the heat and temperatures during the grilling process. There are several different tips and tricks we can tell you to get everything under control.

How to check the temperature of your charcoal grill

Some charcoal grills come with thermometers built into the base or the cover of the grill. These are used to check the internal temperature of the grill, which is great for smoking meats.

But when it comes to grilling, the grates will be much hotter than the inside of the actual grill. You can buy another thermometer to keep track of the temperature if you want.

Probe thermometers are very accurate and can be placed in the grill, on the grates, or even inside the grilling meat. You could also invest in a laser thermometer to point where you want to read the temperature and get an instant reading.

You can also use your hand to check the grill’s temperature, but this is not very effective and will vary from person to person depending on their tolerance for heat.

How to control the temperature on a charcoal grill

How to control the temperature on a charcoal grill

To control your charcoal grill’s temperature, you can do a few things to lower or raise the temperature or create hot spots on the grill. If you spread the coals out, you will be able to reduce the temperature, and if you pile them up, you will raise the temperature.

Also, you can create a hot spot where the coals are piled up. You can also lower or raise the cooking grates to bring the meats closer or farther away from the coals. Airflow is critical when it comes to adjusting the temperature on the grill.

Most charcoal grills come with vents to regulate how much air is allowed in the grill, causing the temperature to fluctuate. If you close up all the vents, this will prevent any air from passing through the grill and lower the temperature.

Opening the top vent will raise the temperature a bit more and release some of the smoke within the grill. If you open both the top and bottom vents, you will create excellent airflow, heat the coals, and raise the grill’s temperature much faster and higher.

Be careful, though, because doing it this way can burn the coals up pretty quickly.

Using your Charcoal Grill to Smoke

Using your Charcoal Grill to Smoke

You can smoke food on your charcoal grill by using a technique called the charcoal snake. Lay your charcoal out around the side of your smoke in a line, like a snake.

Add a few chunks of smoking wood, or large chips, careful not to stack them. Finally, light the end of your charcoal snake and in ten minutes you will be cooking.

Gas/Propane Grills

Gas/Propane Grills

For the most part, it is much more user-friendly and effortless to control the temperature when it comes to gas grills. It also doesn’t matter if it is propane or a direct natural gas line; it will still be effortless.

How to control the temperature on your propane grill

Controlling the temperatures on any gas grill is self-explanatory. Each knob controls a burner on the grill, and the higher you turn the knobs, the more gas is allowed to each burner. This raises and lowers the heat and controls the flame automatically.

If you want to cook food with indirect heat, you can turn up one side of the grill and leave the others off. This will create direct heat at one side of the grill while the rest of the grill is open space for indirect heat.

The amount of gas or propane you turn on that is connected to the grill will not determine the temperature or change the flame patterns. A regulator on the hose only allows a certain amount of gas into the grill no matter how high or low it is turned up.

Using a thermometer, as we mentioned before with charcoal grills, will also help you control the temperatures on your gas grill.

Electric Grills

When it comes to controlling heat on an electric grill, it’s a whole other ball game. The controls are entirely different and exact. With an electric grill or griddles, you will reach the optimal temperature you want the grill to maintain that temperature until you decide to turn the grill down or off.

The controls are usually digital, which allows you to put in the exact temperature you want the grill to be at. Also, since there are no flames or fire, there will never be flare-ups or a fire to control during the cooking process.

They have internal thermometers built-in, and you can still use other thermometers to control the heat, but it is not necessary in the long run. The electric grill will do all the work for you in this department.

Check out the Char-Broil Patio Bistro Electric Grill on


So, depending on the type of grill you have, it is wise to know how to control the cooking process’s temperature. Even though it may be more difficult with charcoal grills when the electric grill is so easy, that doesn’t mean that one is better.

You will still get different results whenever using different types of grills. The choice is really up to you on which type of grill to use. Either way, you should have no problem controlling the temperature on any grill.


How do you control flare-ups on a grill?

It doesn’t matter the type of grill, just if there is an open flame. You can close all the vents and close the lid to kill the fire, or you can keep a spray bottle full of water nearby to extinguish the flames when they get out of control.

Will different cooking types of meat raise or lower the temperature of the grill?

Yes. If you are cooking a piece of meat with a higher fat content or something that is marinated with a lot of oil or butter, the fats will drip down onto the burners and create flare-ups. This can burn your meat or place unwanted carbon on the meat.

Should you leave the lid open or closed when grilling meat?

It depends on how hot you want the grill to be. The longer the lid is closed, the hotter the grill will be inside. You can still grill just fine with the lid open. Also, remember to keep vents open so the fuel will burn well.

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