How to Check the Temperature of Your Grill

You don’t need a built-in thermometer to gauge the temperature. Just your hand.

Hand on barbeque grill testing for heat Photo: Michele Gastl

In an ideal world, your grill comes with a built-in thermometer. But if not, use the hand test: Hold your open palm about 3 inches above the grill grate and count how many seconds you can keep it there before pulling away. Then check the chart below for the corresponding temperature.

Temperature: High

Thermometer reading: 450 F to 500 F

Hand check: 1 to 2 seconds

Temperature: Medium-high

Thermometer reading: 400 F to 450 F

Hand check: 2 to 4 seconds

Temperature: Medium

Thermometer reading: 350 F to 400 F

Hand check: 4 to 5 seconds

Temperature: Medium-low

Thermometer reading: 300 F to 350 F

Hand check: 6 to 7 seconds

Temperature: Low

Thermometer reading: 250 F to 300 F

Hand check: 7 to 9 seconds

If you're just learning how to barbecue, this primer will help you get your grill started. Then, learn how to grill just about anything with this printer-friendly PDF.

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