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Controlling the temperature in your grill is the first thing you have to master. Don’t just start and end up with a lot of burnt, undercooked or tough inedible meat. It’s a waste of your time and money. Take the time to get to know your grill. It will benefit you every time you start cooking.
Sometimes I wonder why we love our grills so much. It is hard to control the temperature with the temperature being influenced by sun, wind and rain. And if you work with charcoal it’s even harder. But, everything cooked on a grill simply tastes better, so we put up with the burden and struggle on.
How to set up a two zone gas grill
To gain control over the heat in your gas oven/grill one can best use the two-zone method. The principle is simple. One side of your grill is red hot for direct cooking and the other side is not heated at all, for indirect cooking. Simply move your meat around the grill for the perfect temperature..
Grill Set Ups for Direct and Indirect Heating (indirect heating on the right).
Two Burner Grills: Left Grill on High; Right Grill Off
Three Burner Grills: Left Grill High; Middle Grill Medium; Right Grill Off
Four Burner Grills: From Left to Right – High, Medium, Off, Off
Five Burner Grills: From Left to Right – High, Medium, Low, Off, Off
How to set up a two zone charcoal grill
Start your charcoals as you always do and move them to one site of the grill when you have them ready for use. This simple system allows you to control the heat much better. To avoid the catastrophe of ruined meat, it is advisable to sear both sides of your meat on the hot/direct side of the grill and then move it to the indirect side of your grill. The indirect heat will cook any meat to perfection, retaining those precious juices that make the perfect steak.
How to get a good feel for your grill
Time to get a good feel for your grill. Start a small charcoal fire or start one gas burner on low. Wait a little to give your grill time to heat up. Take the temperature and write this down. Use some more charcoal or fire your burners up a little more and take the temperature again. This way you will end up with a perfect guide to assist you every time you want to use your grill.
Keep in mind that you will need 225 F for slow cooking roast. It’s the perfect temperature to break down the tough fibers in large meat cuts.
325 F is the temperature you will need to sear your meats.
How to adjust the temperature in a charcoal barbeque
Every barbecue has two vents. One for incoming air that’s normally situated under the coals and one for outgoing air that sits in the lid. These are your tools aside from adding more charcoal to enlarge your fire.
The incoming air under the charcoal provides the necessary oxygen. The intake vent is the engine that drives the system. Close it off and you kill your fire. Open it all the way and the temperature rises. You will have to practice with this one, it’s the easiest way to control your fire.
The outgoing vent allows the gases and smoke to escape, it also creates a draft to pull oxygen in through the incoming vent. The outgoing vent needs to be a little open at all times to keep combustion gases from smothering the fire. Use this vent to help the incoming vent draw more oxygen by increasing the draft.