One cannot be called a grilling expert unless they understand the importance of paying attention to the temperature and duration of cooking while grilling. These are one of the most important factors that play a leading role in meals being good or bad.
Best Grilling Temperature For Various Foods
The ideal grilling temperature required is determined by its type, thickness, cut, recipe and whether indirect or direct heat is being used. In this section, we have created a simplified graphical representation of all the common foods and the temperature required by them.
New York Strip
Tenderloin (Small 2.5 lb)
Beef is one of the most common meats used for grilling, barbecuing and smoking. It is also one of those choices which comes in many varieties due to the possibility of different cuts. This is exactly why you may notice types like tenderloin, sirloin, rib eye and etc.
For better understanding, we are going to use the most common versions/cuts of beef and comprehensively explain how they should be grilled.
Steak Grilling Temperature and Time
Steak, in general, can refer to four different cuts: T-Bone, Tenderloin, Rib Eye and New York Strip. Though you may find them to be very similar in appearance, they do slightly differ in terms of ideal temperatures and cooking periods.
Conventionally, USDA suggests that to get the best possible medium steak, an internal temperature of 145 °F is not only healthy but also good in terms of nutritional safety. Traditionally and according to tried and tested methods, it is perfectly all right to experiment between 130 °F to 165 °F to get the ideal kind of meat tenderness.
Anything below or more than this may give unpleasant or unwanted results.
As for the grilling times, this is very much dependent on how high of a temperature you are using. If you are utilizing the ones mentioned in our chart, a standard period of 2-10 minutes should do the job for you. you must keep in mind that different recipes can also influence the amount of time required for grilling.
French for "beef fillet", this kind of beef cut is much more thicker than steak and requires more time to be fully grilled and thoroughly cooked from inside out.
For every inch of thickness, filet mignon will require the same amount of temperature and grill time as a standard piece of steak would.
This kind of cut is probably the most beloved by chefs all around the world. It can be cooked and turned into a juicy soft meat or a barbecued-style tough roasted steak. For sirloin, you don't generally need to worry too much about the temperature. Its flexible texture and versatile thickness allows it to become an ideal candidate for a wide range of heat levels.
In addition, sirloin is probably the easiest piece of meat to grill. All you need to do is marinate it, let the spices sit for a while and start cooking. If you are unsure about what temperatures to use and when to switch the sides, you can always refer to our info-graphics, as shown at beginning of this guide.
To make things simple, the steak's temperature and grilling times are determined by the thickness of the cut and the recipe you are using. Using our chart, you can just multiply the values in accordance with the number of individuals you are serving.
As always, we highly recommend to use a digital thermometer. It removes the potential for any kind of mistakes and makes grilling effortless and fun.
Chicken Grilling Temperature and Time
Chicken is one of the most beloved kind of meat all over the world due to its smooth texture and natural tenderness. Chickens are easy to raise and can be bought at an attractive price. They have thousands of recipes, from the most easiest ones to the 5 star-restaurant level, and are easy to cook with delicious results.
The traditional temperature for grilling chicken revolves around from 165° F to 180° F, depending on what you are cooking. As a general rule, the surface temperature is ideal to be 350° F for cooking the various kinds of chicken cuts.
Other than that, we are going to list out the most common parts of the chicken along with a brief guide on how to cook them.
The bulkiest of cuts, very popular in restaurants and often used for creating burger patties. Chicken breasts have a tendency to dry out if cooked for a long time. Therefore, knowing the grilling times and temperature is essential to get it perfect.
To start off, marinate the breasts with the spices of your choice and freeze them or use them right away. Should you choose the latter, get the grilling temperature to approximately 165° F - 170° F. Use direct heat for the best results and keep each side cooking for 6-8 minutes.
If you happen to be using breasts for chicken kabobs, a temperature of 150° F to 170° F would work well along with 2-4 minutes of time for each side. Though these can vary depending on your recipe and how thick the kabobs are, what we've mentioned are the standard values. For more details, check out the info-graphics for the chicken section at the beginning of this guide.
Just like chicken breasts, these are very commonly served as main or side-dishes. Almost every popular fast-food franchise utilizes the perfect natural proportions of this cut of the chicken, more meat than bones, and it never fails to disappoint either.
To get perfectly cooked chicken thighs/legs, a temperature between 165° F to 180° F should do the job for you with 10-15 minutes of grilling for each side depending on how cooked you want your thighs to be and, not forgetting, the recipe you are using.
To keep the natural juices of the chicken strong, it is recommended not to overcook it. Anything from medium to good will serve just right.
Definitely our favorite and also the beloved piece of chicken for half the world. If you are not a big fan of chicken wings, then there's something you are not doing correctly. But that's okay, here's what you should be doing to get an awe-inspiring taste.
Marinate the chicken wings hours before grilling or overnight and let them rest in the freezer for a good amount of time. This will allow the spices to fully coat every inch of the chicken and be ready to be cooked anytime of the week.
The grilling temperature should be approximately between 165° F to 180° F and a time period of 8-12 minutes for each side. Point to be noted, chicken wings are known for cooking super fast so keeping an eye on it during your BBQ session will ensure everything is looking beautiful after the food gets off the grates.
This is a thicker kind of meat requiring lots of care and attention to come out tasty. If you are worried about Thanksgiving, have no fear because we are going to get you all prepared. As a forewarning, be ready for an extra long grilling time.
So, to start off, aim for a temperature of 165° F to 175° F with a cooking period of 60-110 minutes for each side of the turkey, using direct heat. The longer times can be justified by the thick skin structure on turkey and other similar birds like duck and ostrich.
Serve it with salads and anything else you may have planned for your Thanksgiving menu.
For centuries, pork has been a favorite for almost everyone around the world. It's naturally soft and tasty meat is a delicacy for many.
Cooking pork is not at all difficult. In fact, the grilling temperature and times are pretty much the same as those of beef since it also has tenderloin, and loins.
The most important point to remember about pork is marination. Pork may start to emanate an unpleasant smell if it's not treated properly. Keep it refrigerated with strong spices like ginger and garlic to avoid it from turning bad.
For the ideal surface temperature, you can refer to the info graphics at the beginning of the page. All the common meat cuts and relevant grilling information is mentioned which you should be able to get started. For basics, prep up the grill from anywhere between 300 °F – 400 °F.
These are the leanest cuts taken from the pig and often contain a part of the vertebra (backbones) or the rib bones. These serve nicely as an individual portion along with a cup of rice or salad and yoghurt.
However, the main question is, what is the best temperature to get the perfect grill chops? Straight up, we suggest conforming, but not limiting your adventurous self, to a medium internal temperature of 145° F.
Since the pork chops cook faster than the other parts of the pig, a cooking time of 2-7 minutes would be ideal for each side to achieve a properly cooked meal.
Popularly known as "Pork Fillet" or "Gentleman's Cut", it is the ideal dish for serving a large amount of guests. Just like the pork chops, this one cooks fast as well, due to its long thin structure, but requires an equal amount of attention to turn out properly.
The cooking temperature is pretty much the same at 145° F but the times can vary from 10 - 25 minutes for each side. Though it's not thick, this one takes time because of its lengthiness.
These are famous servings in Western and East-Asian cuisines. Due to their versatility and natural softness, they can be smoked, baked, grilled and whatever else you wish to do with them. All cooking methods can be applied on the pork ribs and they will still give you a memorable experience to long for.
Since pork ribs can be pretty much served at any time of the day; snacks, lunch, dinner, you can be as adventurous or light as you want with their recipe. It all depends on what your tummy desires and how spicy you'd like to eat.
To grill them correctly, pork ribs are better suited to be exposed to indirect heat. This is because of the structure of the ribs (there are bones in the meat) which requires thorough cooking before being able to be served. The temperature is, yet again, 145° F but the grilling times start from a minimum of 30 - 120 minutes of constant cooking.
Pork Loins Grilling Time and Temperature Chart
This part of the meat is cut from the issue which is located at the back of the rib cage. It is usually quite wide in nature so, once cooked, you can cut several slices from it and serve a good number of guests in a single instance.
The grilling temperature for the pork loins revolves from 140° F to 165° F. Due to their larger surface area, this cut of the meat is cooked much faster than any other part of the pig. From a minimum of 4 minutes to a maximum of 8 minutes, you should be able to get a delicious meal cooked.
Vegetables are fairly easy to cook with a lot of similarities between the most common ones. As you may have noticed from the vegetables section on our info-graphics, all require the exact same surface temperature and are to be immediately served once grilled.
To make things simpler, green vegetables, fruits and stalks are good to go after 3-10 minutes of cooking on each side. Unlike meat, these vegetables have a thin structure so it is easy for the heat to penetrate and spread around quickly. Therefore, grilling temperatures and times remain less in comparison.
For the denser vegetables like potatoes, an internal temperature of 200° F and a cooking time of 90 minutes using indirect heat should do the job. It should be remembered though that despite of their density, it is important to keep a constant eye on their surface so as to avoid burning.
As a side-note, pay extra attention if you are grilling during a windy day and using indirect heat. Strong winds may redirect the direction of fire towards or away from the food (unless it's an electric grill), causing unpleasant results to appear.
Ideal temperatures for other common foods
These don't require a lot of time to cook. Grill them up to the point you think they are soft enough to your liking. The ideal cooking temperature for them is 160° F with a direct heat of 400° F.
The most common types, salmon and swordfish, require a temperature of 140° F over a direct heat of 400° F should do the job. These values apply to many other common kinds of fish so you don't need to worry about setting a new temperature every time you try a new dish. This is also the salmon grilling time and temperature commonly used.
For shrimps, lobsters and other seafood, increase the temperature to 145° F and let the direct heat be intensified to 450° F.
Grilled Sausage Time and Temperature & Hot Dogs
To grill the perfect sausages and hot dogs, an internal temperature of 150° to 160° F would work nicely with a direct heat revolving around 200° F to 225° F.
Managing temperatures on different kinds of grills
Every grill is capable of producing a different kind of heat. For example, charcoal grills are the most difficult to control as their source of fire is natural and if let loose, it could burn the food easily.
are famous for their ability to retain heats. Due to their ceramic structure, they are able to reach incredible amounts of temperature and although they use charcoal as fuel, the built-in air vents allow heat to be easily managed, no matter how hot the grill is.
To start off with these, get a lump of charcoal ignited in the grill and allow the surface temperature to reach the required number. Afterwards, place the food and close the charcoal section's lid and let all the air vents be opened quarterly, partially or completely, however you wish to control the heat.
As for the infrared grills
, they have the ability to cook very fast due to their top-notch technology. All you need to do to get started is preheat the grill for a minute or two at a medium heat, place your food and let each side be cooked for approximately 2 minutes.
It is highly recommended to pay attention to the grilling process as the rapid speed of infrared grills are likely to burn your food, if neglected.
These are the easiest grills to control temperature wise as they have knows and burners to set a precise level of fire to be produced. Depending on the food you are grilling, with a slight rotation of the knobs, you can get the grill to reach very high or very low temperatures.
As for the gas grills
, including natural gas and propane, there always are air vents so temperature management is not a difficult task. These grills are able to reach a maximum of 500° F quite quickly.
If you are not sure what temperatures to use for the different kinds of foods, you can always refer to our info-graphics.
By far the most hardest to manage. Charcoal grills
, as the name implies, use charcoal lumps as fuel and the only ways to control their temperature are to utilize the air vents and use the right amount of coal.
One of the many mistakes made by the users of these grills is the uneven distribution of coal. Perhaps in a hurry, excitement or lack of knowledge, chefs place large lumps of coal at a single place rather than spreading them out on the surface to ensure all areas of the grates receive an equal amount of heat.
You may be wondering how indirect heat can be generated by these grills. The answer is very simple and quite helpful too. You can place the coals on one side of the grill while the food is on the opposite side on the grates. In fact, this is also an unorthodox method to control the temperature. If you feel like your food needs more heat, move them over to the area under which the coals are burning. If it is the opposite, move the food away from the heat and you're good to go.
Having knowledge of various grilling temperatures and timings for the wide range of meats, veggies, seafood and fish available is essential in cooking a delicious meal.
Our guide has the primary objective of comprehensively explaining all the different kinds of foods available and how you should grill them. Though we have mentioned the standard values of ideal temperatures and cooking times, we also recommend you to not hesitate to experiment around and find out how soft or firm you like your foods to be. We believe every individual has their own preferences and likes and dislikes, so why limit yourself?
We hope this guide helped you in getting the basics understood and how each grill requires a distinct kind of approach to manage its heat levels.
Have fun grilling!