How Long to Cook (Pretty Much) Anything on the Grill

How to grill - grill times for chicken, steak, shrimp, burgers, and more
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Many a grill master will tell you (often with a grand flourish of the spatula) that there's an art to grilling, a finesse. Commonly grilled foods (from grilled chicken thighs to veggies) have their own times, minimum internal temperatures, and other requirements for a tasty, perfectly-seared-but-not-burned meal. A decent grill chef can deliver a nice set of burger patties; a great one can pull together a whole meal, sides included, or switch between steaks one night and chicken breasts the next without missing a beat.

If you haven't been blessed with an outspoken grill mentor, all of those cooking times and temperatures can be a hassle to learn. But this handy guide has them all, sorted by type of food. Learn how long to grill chicken, pork, steak, and various vegetables for results that are both delicious and safe to consume (i.e., free of any potential illness-causing bacteria).

Keep this trusty guide on hand, and you'll soon get the hang of judging when grilled foods are fully cooked. (We also recommend an instant-read thermometer for checking internal temperatures.)

With this guide (and a spatula) in hand, go forth and conquer the grill—just be sure to take time to enjoy the fruits (and meats and vegetables) of all that grilling labor. And when you're done, learning how to clean a grill is also a good idea.

01 of 06

Chicken and Turkey

Grilled chicken
Marcus Nilsson

The chicken grill time and cooking times for other poultry that follow refer to cooking without the grill cover, unless otherwise indicated.

Cooking Time: Direct heat, 5 to 6 minutes per side

Internal Temperature*: 160 to 165 F

Cooking Time: Direct heat, 2 to 3 minutes per side

Internal Temperature*: 160 to 165 F

Cooking Time: Indirect heat, covered, turning occasionally, 25 to 30 minutes

Internal Temperature*: 165 F

Cooking Time: Indirect heat, covered, turning occasionally, 40 to 50 minutes

Internal Temperature*: 160 to 165 F

*Remove food from the grill when it reaches the desired internal temperature, as measured with an instant-read thermometer. Where temperatures appear as a range, the higher temperature represents the internal temperature recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for maximum food safety. The lower temperature represents the internal temperature preferred by the Real Simple test kitchen and approved as safe by many food experts.

02 of 06

How to Grill Beef

Grilled beef
Marcus Nilsson

The cooking times that follow refer to cooking without the grill cover, unless otherwise indicated.

Cooking Time: Direct heat, 4 to 6 minutes per side (for medium-rare)

Internal Temperature*: 130 to 145 F

Cooking Time: Direct heat, 4 to 5 minutes per side; then indirect heat, covered, 4 to 10 minutes (for medium-rare)

Internal Temperature*: 130 to 145 F

Cooking Time: Direct heat, 5 to 6 minutes per side (for medium)

Internal Temperature*: 155 to 160 F

* Remove food from the grill when it reaches the desired internal temperature, as measured with an instant-read thermometer. Where temperatures appear as a range, the higher temperature represents the internal temperature recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for maximum food safety. The lower temperature represents the internal temperature preferred by the Real Simple test kitchen and approved as safe by many food experts.

03 of 06

How to Grill Pork

Grilled pork
Marcus Nilsson

The cooking times that follow refer to cooking without the grill cover, unless otherwise indicated.

Cooking Time: Direct heat, turning occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes; then indirect heat, covered, 10 to 12 minutes

Internal Temperature*: 145 F

Cooking Time: Direct heat, 4 to 6 minutes per side

Internal Temperature*: 145 F

Cooking Time: Direct heat, covered, 4 to 5 minutes per side; then indirect heat, covered, 15 to 20 minutes

Internal Temperature*: 145 F

* Remove food from the grill when it reaches the desired internal temperature, as measured with an instant-read thermometer. Where temperatures appear as a range, the higher temperature represents the internal temperature recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for maximum food safety. The lower temperature represents the internal temperature preferred by the Real Simple test kitchen and approved as safe by many food experts.

04 of 06

How to Grill Lamb

Skirt Steak Diablo
Andre Baranowski

The cooking times that follow refer to cooking without the grill cover, unless otherwise indicated.

Cooking Time: Direct heat, 3 to 4 minutes per side (for medium-rare)

Internal Temperature*: 130 to 145 F

Cooking Time: Direct heat, 4 to 6 minutes per side (for medium-rare)

Internal Temperature*: 130 to 145 F

Cooking Time: Direct heat, 4 to 5 minutes per side; then indirect heat, covered, 15 to 20 minutes (for medium-rare)

Internal Temperature*: 130 to 145 F

*Remove food from the grill when it reaches the desired internal temperature, as measured with an instant-read thermometer. Where temperatures appear as a range, the higher temperature represents the internal temperature recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for maximum food safety. The lower temperature represents the internal temperature preferred by the Real Simple test kitchen and approved as safe by many food experts.

05 of 06

How to Grill Seafood

Grilled shrimp
Marcus Nilsson

The cooking times that follow refer to cooking without the grill cover, unless otherwise indicated.

Cooking Time: Direct heat, 1 to 2 minutes per side

Cooking Time: Direct heat, 3 to 5 minutes per side

06 of 06

How to Grill Vegetables

Grilled vegetables
Marcus Nilsson

The cooking times that follow refer to cooking without the grill cover, unless otherwise indicated.

Cooking Time: Direct heat, 4 to 5 minutes per side

Cooking Time: Direct heat, 4 to 5 minutes per side

Cooking Time: Direct heat, 5 to 6 minutes per side

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