Here’s A Temperature Guide To Grill the Perfect Meat + Veggies

Not all food items require the same degree of heat.

We know it’s exciting to have the summer grilling session started but don’t let your excitement make you forget to cook your food properly. For instance, you don’t want to leave the steaks for last since it needs to sear on a very hot grill for the trademark grill marks. You also don’t want to be too eager and put the carrots and the delicate fish on over a searing heat since it will likely burn too quickly.

Whether you’re grilling for the first time or are just not sure when you should put the food on the grill, you know that meats, vegetables, and even fruits cook at different times. With this handy visual guide, you know which food should be added to the grill first and which to save for last.

High Heat

What to grill: steak, burgers, pork liempo, barbecue, and any vegetables such as corn on the cob, baked potatoes wrapped in foil, onion rings, and large bell peppers

High heat on the grill means the charcoal has become white, and not just red, hot. You’ll not only feel the charcoal is hot, you’ll see that the coals are white hot. The charcoals immediately on top will be coated with a fine layer of ash while any placed underneath these will emit a simmering red. These are the signals for you to start grilling. You will want to stay alert, so none of your food overcooks over the searing heat.

Just like you were cooking something on the stove, high heat is reserved for those ingredients you want to sear or may take a long time to cook. For the grill, it means steak, burgers, pork liempo, barbecue, and any vegetables that take longer to cook such as corn on the cobs, baked potatoes wrapped in foil, onion rings, and large bell peppers that need to char and roast on the grill to rid it of its plastic-like skin.


Medium Heat

What to grill: pork chops, hot dogs, chicken, and fruits and vegetables 

As the white-hot charcoal beings to mellow to a medium heat, you’ll see the charcoal begins to lose some of its white ash and turn gray. This is because the charcoal, while still hot, has turned more of the charcoal to ash under that first layer. You’ll need to add more charcoal to keep the heat up if you’re going to grill more food.

Food that’s perfect to add to the grill at this point are pork chops, hot dogs, chicken, and fruits and vegetables which would benefit from some charring like pineapples, bananas, and even romaine lettuce for a roasted Caesar salad.

Low Heat

What to grill: Vegetables like eggplants and carrots, hamburger and hotdog buns

The dying embers of the charcoal will look like the charcoal has almost completely become ash. It will be the charcoal underneath the charcoal on top that will keep the heat going through. It will stay hot, enough to cook food that requires gentle heat to cook through.

Vegetables like eggplants and carrots can cook over this gentle heat as will more delicate greens like asparagus and juicy tomatoes that just need to be charred a little bit before being ready to serve. Hamburger and hotdog buns slathered with butter would benefit from this more gentle heat so it toasts without burning.

if you’re even more excited to get to grilling, here are more grilling tips and recipes to inspire you to set up a grill this summer:


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