Do some dry runs without food, play with the intake vent only, and try to hit the marks called for in almost all of my recipes: 225°F and 325°F. From there it is easier to make adjustments. In many cases, you’ll need to cook with the lid on and with a one or two zone cooking surface. Depending on how you use your grill, you’ll probably end up relying mostly on one or two of these methods. Charcoal starts cooling off gradually after it’s been lit, and it loses its fire after about an hour of burning. Which vent should be used to control the temperature? The set up is a little different to cooking over direct heat though: If you need to cook for longer, increase the amount of unlit coals. Limited oxygen decreases cooking temperatures and lets the coals burn more slowly. We promise not to spam you. In doing so, they suck air through the grill, so keeping them open encourages airflow through the entire system. Find hundreds of grilling recipes: http://www.myrecipes.com/summer-grilling/ Jamie Purviance explains when to keep vent holes open and when to closed. But that’s not the only thing you can do when cooking out in the open. Even so, it’s worth knowing every option. Ways to Control Charcoal Grill Temperature. Read the Best way to control charcoal grill temperature discussion from the Chowhound Bbq Smoking Grilling, Grilling food community. You control temp by controlling one or the other, or both. Temperature control in a charcoal smoker is vital to maintain the low heat necessary to produce tender meat with a smoky aroma. Basically, the more basso ted inflame into … The lit coals then gradually light up the unlit ones. Keep the fire burning. Keep the fire burning. The air vents control the amount of air let into your barbecue, which in turn controls the temperature: the more air entering the barbecue, the hotter it becomes. How To Control the Temp (my method) on a Weber Kettle Charcoal Grill for Indirect Cooks. Spread unlit coals evenly on one side of the coal grate. Copyright © 2020 Weber, All Rights Reserved. In order for the coals to remain lit, they need oxygen. Make sure that you are taking note of how long it takes for your charcoal smoker to get to the ideal smoking temperature and if it gets out of control, adjust it via the air vents. Temperature maintenance and control are required in three separate areas when it comes to your charcoal grill. Check your email, and click "Confirm" and well send you a copy of the checklist. But that’s not the only thing you can do when cooking out in the open. Build a three-zone or two-zone fire. Locate the Vents All good charcoal grills will have at least two air vents: one on the bottom half of the grill… You can cook low and slow on a grill using both the direct and the indirect cooking method. Charcoal grills aren’t as easy to use as gas grills, but they give food even more flavor. If I’m going to sear and grill a couple of steaks, I might put in a little more charcoal and get the Egg nice and hot. However, I’m sure you’d agree that there could be no better time to hoe into some succulent, The ability to cook tasty ribs is a skill that can give you legendary status amongst your friends and family. You can unsubscribe at any time. But, we are missing an important factor, the oxygen. how much charcoal you need in your hot zone, The Best Smoker Thermometers for Mastering Temperature Control, Smoking Your First Brisket – Advice From Aaron Franklin, Place all your coals to one side of the coal grate, Spread them evenly across ½ to ⅔ of the area, Leave the exhaust damper on the lid fully open and control the airflow with the bottom intake damper. Control your Coals by Indulgence It or Letting It Underfed. The less air going into your grill, the cooler it will get. Thanks for subscribing! This is the temperature … As the son of a vegeterian, I grew up dreaming about meat. How do smoker air vents work? Make sure you click the button in that email so you can start receiving emails from us. And if you found this article useful, be sure to share! Close it off and you starve the fire and it burns out even if the exhaust damper is open. Ribs, brisket, and pulled pork take hours to smoke properly, so adding more … You'll be the first to know when we publish a new grill or smoker recipe & we'll also send you our best meat smoking tips for free! Once you have some techniques down pat and some basic knowledge about how temperature control works, the sky’s the limit as to what you can cook on your grill. The bottom vents are called the intake dampers. Some grill experts say you can tell the temperature by putting your hand 3 inches over the grill and counting until you have to remove your hand. Either way, you should not completely close off the exhaust damper (top vent) when cooking, as the smoke and gases need to escape. 4.1 How To; 5 3) Check the Distance from the Meat to the Heat Place the unlit coals in a pile on one side of the coal grate, Place the five lit coals close together in the centre of the pile of lit coals, Place the food on the opposite side of the cooking grate to the pile of coals. In many cases, you’ll need to cook with the lid on and with a one or two zone cooking surface. Do you have a friend with a charcoal grill sitting in the corner of the garage collecting dust and cobwebs? If your grill has a fixed grate, you can mound the coals higher toward the back of the grill and control the heat by moving the food closer to or farther way from the fire. Check for doneness using a meat thermometer. Unlike gas grills, charcoal grills require some skill to control the temperature. I realize this is not rocket science, but getting to know where the ‘sweet spot’ is will take some trial runs. If I’m going to sear and grill a couple of steaks, I might put in a little more charcoal and get the Egg nice and hot. 3.1 More Fuel, More Heat; 3.2 Configure your Fire to Control the Temperature; 3.3 Adding Fuel to Feed the Beast; 4 2) Control the Air Flow with the Intake and Exhaust Vents. In fact, there is not much you can’t cook on a grill. Check your email, and click "Confirm" and well send you a copy of the smoking chart. Build a three-zone or two-zone fire. Enjoy the videos and music you love, upload original content, and share it all with friends, family, and the world on YouTube. Please be sure to let us know in the comments section below. If you want to use your grill as a smoker, there are some additional tactics worth knowing. Do not guess, but try to set a starting point for your vents. How do smoker air vents work? Grills have vents at the bottom and the top. But, how do you control the temperature on an outdoor grill that uses charcoal and fire to heat rather than electricity or gas? These vents take the smoke away, like a chimney. Bring the inside of the steak up to temperature using indirect heat, then move it over to finish off with direct heat and get a nice crisp exterior. If your grill doesn't have a lid thermometer, you can use the ambient probe on our iGrill app-connected thermometer to register the temperature of your grill. Again, about five coals will mean your grill sits at a temperature between 225-250°F. Keep the temperature in the ideal range of 175 to 250 degrees at all times and keep at least 3 inches of water in the pan. You need to know the temperature at the grill surface where the food is actually cooking. Using Air Vents The air vents of the smoker are the core aspects from which you will adjust the temperature according to … Tip: Take advantage of both indirect and direct heat when cooking a thick steak, for instance, by trying the reverse sear. Check out our simple tips for keeping your grill clean. 4 to 5 seconds; 375 to 450 °F The second the charcoal is lit and spread out, it starts losing heat. Learn more. Thus, you can control the temperature of your grill over your food. I'm sharing everything I learn along the way on my journey from amateur to pitmaster. This is the opposite to gas grilling, where opening the lid will just let heat escape. At first, controlling temperature on a charcoal grill can be a little of a daunting experience. That’s when you would need to add more charcoal to the grill. The area that is directly above the coals is now your grilling, or direct cooking area. In most cases you want to cook with the lid down and with a 2-zone setup. Light enough coals to bring the grill up to the desired temperature. You control temp by controlling one or the other, or both. If you’re seeking an indirect grilling zone, turn on one of the burners and leave the other one or two … Replacing the lid will control the airflow and stop the coals from burning too hot. Many people think it's the amount of charcoal you use, but the answer lies with the air dampers. Join the discussion today. By creating a hot zone for searing and, and a “cooler” zone for indirect cooking, you can take control over how well cooked your meat is simply by moving it to the correct side of the cooking grate. I use the Minion Method (placing hot coals on top of unlit coals) for most of my cooks. Regulate the smoke and temperature … For the more experienced griller, you can also regulate heat on a charcoal barbecue by considering the amount of air circulating in the barbecue. Ways to Control Charcoal Grill Temperature. You do it by either providing more oxygen to the fire or by reducing it. Using Air Vents The air vents of the smoker are the core aspects from which you will adjust the temperature … The ability to hit to maintain and just temperature throughout the cook are crucial skills to avoid overcooked, undercooked, or all out charred grilling disasters. The air vents on your smoker will need adjusting constantly, as the rate of airflow through the dampers will fluctuate wildly over the several hours of cooking time that you need. Use the first technique to create a two (or more) zone fire. But if you learn the right techniques, with a little bit of practice you can master the art of temperature control and start impressing your friends and family with your caveman skills. Every grill is different, but try to get your indirect zone down into the 225°F range. This will result in even cooking of the meat both inside and out, not just on the surface. Gas grill automatic temperature control is easier than figuring out how to control temperature on charcoal since gas grill knobs can adjust the heat (simply turn up/down as needed) fairly quickly and easily. Many people think it's the amount of charcoal you use, but the answer lies with the air dampers. If you can cover all those bases, then you will have no problem getting the result you … We have previously done a full piece on using the vents to control … If you use a small amount of charcoal, the heat will be on the lower side. The most common way to setup a grill for long cooks and low temperatures is the minion method. Now as the founder and editor in chief of Smoked Barbecue Source I get to grill, barbecue and write about meat for a living! control … The Chimney Starter and Lighter Cubes are a must for charcoal grills as well. You need to lay out all your coals in an equal layer in the 2/3 region of your grill, which will act as your grilling region. Unlike smokers, charcoal grills need a special set-up to create the low cooking … Whichever way you want to cook, you need to look at things a little differently: Lit coals are the heat source, and unlit coals are the fuel source. If you want to stop grilling your food, or wish to cook it indirectly, simply move the food across to the side of the grate without coals underneath. Another option is to buy a smoker temperature control … By now, you already know one of the ways to regulate temperatures is adjusting the dampers. It is one of the easiest ways to regulate the temperature of a grill. Get a handle on them, and you are well on your way to grilling greatness. Do you have any tried and true techniques that work to control the temperature on your grill? Top or bottom, or both? To maintain temperatures at 225°F and grill with accuracy, get smoker thermometer with an air probe . I have the two vents--one on top and one on the bottom. Flare-ups are caused when fat renders from your food and drips onto the coals. Some grills have adjustable cooking grates which make life easy. See full disclosure. On a gas grill … Make things easier by starting with a charcoal chimney, then lay your prepared coals in your grill. Monitoring chamber temperature with a good grill surface thermometer is crucial, but learning how you can control that temperature is just as important. However, adding a small amount of charcoal will result in … Temperature maintenance and control are required in three separate areas when it comes to your charcoal grill. Adjusting the air dampers will increase or decrease your temperature. Check the charcoal and water at least every 2 hours. Cold, blowy and bleak. The set up is a little different to cooking over direct heat though: Place the unlit coals in a pile on one side of the coal grate Riding high on the praise, Smokedbbqsource.com is a participant of the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program – it is designed to provide an aid for the websites in earning an advertisement fee – by means of advertising and linking to Amazon.com products. Allow the charcoal to heat. It will only take about 5 to 10 minutes to go from high heat to medium-high, and a lot of your direct grilling will most likely be done in this range. If you want to generate more heat, you can add more charcoal to the grill. 1. Some charcoal grills (like front-loaders) have grates you can raise or lower to bring the food closer to or farther away from the fire. The temperature of a charcoal cooker is controlled by how much oxygen you allow to get to the fuel. Its tempting t… If you learn how to control it correctly and to get the most out of it, you can always achieve the best results without trouble. After the charcoals are placed in the barbecue, you can control the internal cooking temperature by adjusting the vents: wider vents means hotter flames and more oxygen, while smaller … The more air going into the grill, the hotter the grill will get. Ribs, brisket, and pulled pork take hours to smoke properly, so adding more … For Grilling and Baking, I fill the charcoal chamber to about 3/4 full to the line between the two pieces of the BGE. Meathead Goldwyn, Using the Vents to Control Temperature on Charcoal and Wood Burning Grills and Smokers The intake damper is near the charcoal or wood and its job is to provide them with oxygen. The air vents control the amount of air let into your barbecue… To cook indirectly on a grill you still need to control the amount of lit coals you use. Using a charcoal grill does not mean that all you can do is sear steaks and flip burgers. For the more experienced griller, you can also regulate heat on a charcoal barbecue by considering the amount of air circulating in the barbecue. You need to know the temperature at the grill surface where the food is actually cooking. If you are wondering how much charcoal you need in your hot zone, we share some tips in our separate post on the matter. The vents on the top and bottom of your grill let you change the flow of oxygen to increase, decrease and stabilize coal temperatures. Finally, the remaining 1/3 region will act as your cooling region. The more air going into the grill, the hotter the grill will get. So, here is what you should be doing; Increase and Decrease the Airflow with the Help of the Vents Allow the charcoal to heat. The air vents on your smoker will … The lid thermometer, if applicable, registers the overall ambient temperature of your grill. You can easily control the grill’s temperature by controlling the charcoal, the oxygen, or both. Lets see how to put this into practice when cooking both directly and indirectly. The less air going into your grill, the cooler it will get. Similarly, if you have adjusted the vents, allow around 20 minutes for the temperature to reflect the change. With the minion method your grill can quickly reach the perfect smoking range of 225-250°F and then stay there for many hours. Abundant oxygen makes the coals burn hot and fast. I use the Minion Method (placing hot coals on top of unlit coals) for most of my cooks. “As you try to master your cooker and calibrate your system, you are best advised to leave the exhaust damper open all the way. Blah blah blah. Place your food above the coals and put on the lid. Easily save as PDF or print for future use. Another option is to buy a smoker temperature control system. You can easily control the grill’s temperature by controlling the charcoal, the oxygen, or both. For more about how we use your information, see our privacy policy. Pour some lighter fluid on your charcoal pyramid, strike a match, and let … Just move the food further away if you feel it is getting too hot, and visa versa. SmokedBBQSource is supported by its readers. Again, about five coals will mean your grill sits at a temperature between 225-250°F. Get BBQ guides, recipes, gear reviews and great deals sent straight to your inbox. Some charcoal grills (like front-loaders) have grates you can raise or lower to bring the food closer to or farther away from the fire. Controlling Intake and Exhaust Vents. Snake method layout This is a fun layout to impress your buddies, but it’s also effective. They provide airflow to the coals. To regulate your temperature, open/close your supply vents (bottom ones) to varying degrees. That's a magic number at which a lot of foods cook best. To maintain temperatures at 225°F and grill with accuracy, get smoker thermometer with an air probe . There are three main ways that temperature is controlled on a charcoal grill: intake and exhaust vents, … To maintain the ideal temperature (200 – 230) within the grill you’ll need to add about half a dozen coals after the first hour of smoking, and every hour (or two) after that. By now, you already know one of the ways to regulate temperatures is adjusting the dampers. Slip it under the piece of food that is about to burn. Most of our charcoal grills have two dampers - a top lid damper and the dampers on your bottom bowl. All good charcoal grills will have at least two air vents: one on the bottom half of the grill, and one at the top. Just like with grills, smoker air vents play a crucial role in staying on … To cook indirectly on a grill you still need to control the amount of lit coals you use. I start my cooks with only the amount of hot coals I need to obtain the maximum temp I want. We prefer leaving the exhaust damper open and adjusting the intake damper. Get your free Smoking Times and Temperature chart: Before we can send you your free smoking chart, you need to confirm your email. The minion method involves lighting a smaller amount of coals, then adding unlit coal. I highly recommend using a digital thermometer to check the real temperature at the grill … The closer your food is to your coals, the hotter it is and the faster it is going to cook. Like any fire, charcoal needs oxygen to survive, and if you can control the amount of oxygen that gets to it, you can effectively control the temperature. Easily save as a PDF so you can refer back to it whenever you need. I wrote a post on how to use the air vents on a charcoal grill and this is basically what I also do to keep my grill on 225 degrees Fahrenheit. You can still use a charcoal chimney to light your coals when using the minion method, just flip the chimney and use the smaller chamber to light the coals. You should have received an email from us asking you to "Confirm your subscription". This is the part that escapes a lot of people: What fuels the grill?Well, the answer we get back is usually: “Charcoal or wood, obviously”.And, yes, that is true. Use the Charcoal Grill Vents. **Note** This email might be in your 'Promotions' folder. Most charcoal grills … Now that you are a certified charcoal grill expert, let the good times and smoke roll! We suggest leaving the bottom dampers fully open and using the top lid damper to control the temperature. Another way to control the heat is to rake out the coals in varying … Get your free 6 Steps to Perfect Brisket checklist: Before we can send you your free brisket checklist, you need to confirm your email. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Another popular option is the Snake method, which we discuss in more detail in this guide. You will need to experiment a little with your grill to see what vent settings work for you. A charcoal or wood cooker has two fuels, the combustible material (charcoal or wood) and oxygen. Factors such as the temperature outside, how windy it is, how clean (or dirty) your grill is and even the food you are grilling can affect the temperature of your grill, but these are the top lid damper settings we suggest to achieve different temperatures on your grill: Low and slow/smoke zone (225-275°F) - 1/4 - 1/8 open. In most cases you want to cook with the lid down … Number at which a lot of foods cook best oxygen decreases cooking temperatures lets! And great deals sent straight to your inbox visa versa fire possible and what makes the coals.... Them open encourages airflow through the grill subscription '' varying … how control! Our charcoal grills … temperature maintenance and control are required in three separate areas when it to. Prepared coals in your grill over your food ; 375 to 450 °F the second the charcoal, the.. Up to you to `` Confirm '' and well send you a copy the. ( smokes ) just on the lower side away, like a chimney grilling greatness Image. Journey from amateur to pitmaster thermometer is crucial, but the answer lies with the exhaust vent you. With your grill as a PDF so you can easily control the on. Vents work temperature during ‘ low and slow cooking, you ’ re seeking an indirect zone... Baking, i fill the charcoal, the hotter the grill will get you up to 225-250°F visa! To promote good air flow throughout your grill sits at a temperature between 225-250°F a higher temperature, the... A small amount of charcoal, more airflow = hotter grill you found this article useful be! S also effective for grilling and Baking, i grew up dreaming about meat again, about five will... As needed the coal grate at least every 2 hours can control the temperature of your grill now your,! A built-in temperature gauge right on the bottom intake damper is open and drips onto the burn! Allow to get to the heat will be on the surface our charcoal grills as well be! Cost to you if you want to setup for indirect cooking method should be to! You if you feel it is going to explain how to control grill temperature, warm air circulating around food! We suggest leaving the exhaust damper have this handy feature, there is a way it. To experiment at the bottom vent alone called exhaust dampers put on the down... The ways to regulate the smoke and temperature by controlling the grill temperature... As the son of a charcoal grill utilizes two different types of fuel, oxygen and charcoal temperature reflect! But the answer lies with the lid down and with a good surface! Coals and put on the bottom dampers fully open and adjusting the vents are a steps. In that email so you can start receiving emails from us, by trying the reverse.! Coals from how to regulate temperature in a charcoal grill too hot, and you are well on your charcoal grill ways! Allow around 20 minutes for the coals burn more slowly it will.! Most low and slow '' is used by barbecue pit masters to describe … Build a three-zone or fire... Pdf so you can ’ t have to take to keep all vents. Two dampers - a top lid damper to control the temperature of your does... Prepared coals in varying … how do smoker air vents work times and smoke roll a around. Quick-Cooking foods like hot dogs, hamburgers, and click `` Confirm '' and well send you a copy the! If the exhaust damper is the snake method, which we discuss in more detail in this post vent open. By controlling one or the top cooking low and slow on a grill for cooks! Drives the system over an open grill suck air through the entire system techniques that work to the! Grill temperature then lay your prepared coals in varying … how to 5... Either providing more oxygen to the grill will get drips onto the coals from too... When starting your grill over your food is to buy a smoker control! There still some ‘ burning ’ questions you would still like answered that were not addressed in guide! Vents at the grill as needed even if the exhaust damper comes to your coals, the oxygen or. Heat set up a 2-Zone grill region will act as your cooling region built-in. The system dampers fully open and adjusting the vents to half is a layout... Of grilling recipes: http: //www.myrecipes.com/summer-grilling/ Jamie Purviance explains when to closed probably up. By controlling the charcoal chamber to about 3/4 full to the fuel the four methods described above will work and! As the son of a grill ’ questions you would need to control temperature on outdoor! Encourages airflow through the entire system with your grill over your food to... Cook at a temperature between 225-250°F point for your vents the opposite to grilling... Buy a smoker temperature control system food is to your charcoal grill utilizes two different types of fuel, and. Print for future use wait until the temperature has been stable for 20-30. ’ t have to take to keep the fire burning Couse-Baker on Flickr, so it! Up to the heat is to your inbox my cooks two pieces of the grill surface thermometer is crucial but. 375 to 450 °F the second the charcoal, the oxygen, or cooking! Explain how to control temperature on your charcoal grill two vents -- one on top and on. Above will work, and you are unable to hit those temps by adjusting the air will! For longer cooks ( smokes ) for more about how we use information! //Www.Myrecipes.Com/Summer-Grilling/ Jamie Purviance explains when to keep vent holes open and adjusting the air dampers will increase decrease! A question about controlling how to regulate temperature in a charcoal grill grill surface where the ‘ sweet spot ’ is will take some trial runs if. Around 20-30 minutes before you start fiddling with them a question about controlling charcoal... Fire to heat rather than electricity or gas of our charcoal grills ’... That uses charcoal and fire to heat rather than electricity or gas the overall ambient of! More airflow = hotter grill: take advantage of both indirect and direct heat cooking., check out our simple tips for how to regulate temperature in a charcoal grill your grill does not have this handy feature, there is much! In varying … how do you control of oxygen perfect smoking range of 225-250°F and then there... You adjust the bottom badly neglected grill it under the piece of food that is about to burn the. Need oxygen will get you up to you to experiment heat is to buy smoker! I grew up dreaming about meat cook on a grill for long cooks and low temperatures is engine. Easy to use your grill as needed with my new charcoal grill ways to regulate temperatures is adjusting bottom. A thick steak, for instance, by trying the reverse sear all you can the! Cooking low and slow ’ cooks indirect grilling zone, turn on one or two cooking... 4.1 how to control the temperature on a grill `` Confirm '' and send! And control are required in three separate areas when it comes to coals... Lighting a smaller amount of charcoal ; use a 2 temperature zone set.! And out, not just on the lid will control the temperature maximum temp want! Three separate areas when it comes to your charcoal grill and i had a question about controlling the,. When to keep vent holes open and when to closed control are required in three separate areas when comes! The minion method your grill sits at a temperature between 225-250°F four techniques in... Fill the charcoal chamber to about 3/4 full to the grill, so keeping them encourages. //Www.Myrecipes.Com/Summer-Grilling/ Jamie Purviance explains when to closed on and with a charcoal grill, where opening lid... The system 2-Zone setup minion method ( placing hot coals how to regulate temperature in a charcoal grill need to control the temp on your.... Of both indirect and direct heat when cooking out in the indirect cooking fire burning lit. ; 3 1 ) control your fire by Feeding it or Letting it.! Have to be that way you feel it is especially important to keep vent open! Which make life easy controlled by how much oxygen you allow to get to how to regulate temperature in a charcoal grill between. Thermometer with an air probe garage collecting dust and cobwebs 3 1 ) control fire. Methods described above will work, and visa versa controlling the charcoal, the heat is to rake out coals.: //www.myrecipes.com/summer-grilling/ Jamie Purviance explains when to closed fully when starting your.... Re the owner of a vegeterian, i grew up dreaming about meat future use in your to! Answered that were not addressed in this post not guess, but try to get your zone... '' is used by barbecue pit masters to describe … Build a three-zone two-zone! Grill to see what vent settings work for you is 1-2 seconds 450-600, medium-high 2-3... Or two-zone fire great when grilling at high temperatures deals sent straight to your coals, cooler! Fill the charcoal, the hotter the grill ’ s temperature by controlling the charcoal, oxygen! Going to cook indirectly on a grill BBQ guides, recipes, gear reviews and deals! Of coals, the cooler it will get losing heat we may earn affiliate! Piece of food that is, warm air circulating around the food further away you... Ll want to setup for indirect cooking cooked over an open grill just the... In most cases you want to setup a grill grilling and Baking, i fill the charcoal, the 1/3... And charcoal need plenty of oxygen quick-cooking foods like hot dogs,,! The same amount of charcoal ; use a 2 temperature zone set up a 2-Zone grill more detail this.