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

Learn how to grill chicken wings, flank steak, and more.

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Summer bbq party concept - grilled chicken, vegetables, corn, salad, top view
Photo: A Namenko/Getty Images

Grilling is one of those activities that looks really easy, but if you don't have a ton of experience around a grill, firing up the backyard appliance and whipping up everything from grilled chicken wings to hamburgers can be quite the intimidating feat.

Luckily, we've put together this handy guide that tells you exactly how much time your favorite proteins—think beef, shrimp, veggies, and more—need on the grill grates. In addition to rough estimates of cook times, which may vary depending on the type and model of grill you are using, we've also provided a range of internal temperatures for each food so you know exactly when it's ready and safe to eat.

Just note that you should 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. Happy grilling!

How to Grill Chicken and Turkey

Cooking chicken and turkey on the grill is a great way to give the sometimes bland poultry a nice char and slightly smoky taste. The chicken grill time and cooking times for other poultry that follow refer to cooking without the grill cover, unless otherwise indicated.

Boneless Chicken Breasts
Cooking Time: Direct heat, 5 to 6 minutes per side
Internal Temperature: 160 to 165 degrees

Chicken and Turkey Cutlets
Cooking Time: Direct heat, 2 to 3 minutes per side
Internal Temperature: 160 to 165 degrees

Chicken Wings
Cooking Time: Indirect heat, covered, turning occasionally, 25 to 30 minutes
Internal Temperature: 165 degrees

Bone-in Chicken Breasts, Thighs, and Drumsticks
Cooking Time: Indirect heat, covered, turning occasionally, 40 to 50 minutes
Internal Temperature: 160 to 165 degrees

How to Grill Beef

When grilled right, beef—think different cuts of steak and hamburgers—can be juicy, tender, and incredibly flavorful. The cooking times that follow refer to cooking without the grill cover, unless otherwise indicated.

1/2- to 1-Inch-Thick Steaks (such as Flank and Skirt)
Cooking Time: Direct heat, 4 to 6 minutes per side (for medium-rare)
Internal Temperature: 130 to 145 degrees

1- to 1½-Inch-Thick Steaks (such as Strip and London Broil)
Cooking Time: Direct heat, 5 to 6 minutes per side (for medium-rare)
Internal Temperature: 130 to 145 degrees

1-Inch-Thick Hamburgers
Cooking Time: Direct heat, 5 to 6 minutes per side (for medium)
Internal Temperature: 155 to 160 degrees

How to Grill Pork

Though pork isn't cooked on the grill as often as beef or chicken is, grilled pork is lean, moist, and definitely delicious. The cooking times that follow refer to cooking without the grill cover, unless otherwise indicated.

Tenderloin
Cooking Time: Indirect heat, turning once at the halfway point, 30 to 35 minutes
Internal Temperature: 145 degrees

¾- to 1-Inch-Thick Pork Chops
Cooking Time: Direct heat, 4 to 6 minutes per side
Internal Temperature: 145 degrees

Baby-Back Ribs
Cooking Time: Direct heat, 25 to 30 minutes, turning about once every 5 minutes
Internal Temperature: 145 degrees
(Note: You can also grill baby back ribs using the low and slow method, but that requires considerably more time.)

How to Grill Lamb

When grilled, lamb has a tender consistency and rich flavor. The cooking times that follow refer to cooking without the grill cover, unless otherwise indicated.

½- to 1-Inch-Thick Chops
Cooking Time: Direct heat, 3 to 4 minutes per side (for medium-rare)
Internal Temperature: 130 to 145 degrees

1- to 1½-Inch-Thick Chops
Cooking Time: Direct heat, 4 to 6 minutes per side (for medium-rare)
Internal Temperature: 130 to 145 degrees

Butterflied Boneless Leg (1 to 1½ Inches Thick)
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 degrees

How to Grill Seafood

Grilling seafood gives a perfect char to shrimp, bass and more, while still ensuring that the fish is juicy and flavorful. The cooking times that follow refer to cooking without the grill cover, unless otherwise indicated.

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

¾- to 1-Inch-Thick Pieces Fish Fillet or Steaks (such as Salmon, Striped Bass, and Mahi-mahi)
Cooking Time: Direct heat, 3 to 5 minutes per side

How to Grill Vegetables

When grilling your veggies, opt for sturdier choices that can withstand the heat of the grill. Bell peppers, asparagus, and eggplant rounds are all good choices, as their natural sweetness is enhanced with some heat and char. The cooking times that follow refer to cooking without the grill cover, unless otherwise indicated. Since there's no need to cook vegetables to a specific temperature, feel free to remove them from the grill whenever they reach your desired level of doneness.

Bell Peppers, Eggplant, Summer Squash, and Zucchini (½-Inch-Thick Slices)
Cooking Time: Direct heat, 4 to 5 minutes per side

Mushrooms (Whole Button and Portobello Caps)
Cooking Time: Direct heat, 4 to 5 minutes per side

Onions (½-Inch-Thick Pieces)
Cooking Time: Direct heat, 5 to 6 minutes per side

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