If your grill doesn't come with a built-in thermometer, this tip can help you gauge the temperature of your flame.

Michele Gastl

If your grill comes with a built-in thermometer, follow it. 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 handy guide.

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