If you’re new to outdoor cooking on a gas or charcoal grill, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the ideal temperatures.
Many grilling enthusiasts recommend a medium-low heat for outdoor cooking. Although it will take longer to cook your ingredients through, they will be more flavorful with consistent texture and plenty of succulent juices.
Prepare yourself for the grilling season by learning what temperature is medium heat on a grill, along with all of the most popular temperatures for modern and classic recipes.
The Four Most Popular Grilling Temperatures Explained
The majority of your grill recipes will call for the following temperature settings.
Medium-Low: Medium-low is about as low as most people will go (short of smoking and slow cooking). Food takes longer to cook, but the results can be excellent, especially when working with ingredients and recipes that need baking or roasting. This is also a great temperature for ingredients that could burn and burst, such as hot dogs and raw sausages. Medium-low is 325°F, but many enthusiasts go right down to 225°F. This is a good temperature for adding woodchips for smoking. There will be plenty of time to introduce rich smoky flavor into the food.
Medium: Medium heat is ideal for meats and other ingredients that take longer to cook. Thicker cuts of steak, poultry pieces, whole birds, and fish work well at this temperature. Bone-in chicken is especially juicy and flavorful when cooked at medium. The medium temperature of a grill is 350°F. Use an ambient probe or your grill’s hood thermometer to maintain this setting.
Medium-High: Medium-high allows for faster cooking, and it’s perfect for medium-rare food. Ingredients like juicy steaks, burgers, and skewered vegetables work well at this temperature range. You should set your grill to a temperature between 375°F and 450°F if your recipe calls for a medium-high heat setting.
High: Some foods will benefit from rapid cooking and searing hot temperatures. Skewered meat and thin cuts are especially well-suited to high heat. The temperature just above the grill surface should be at least 450°F.
A Grilling Thermometer is Essential
Now that you know what temperature is medium heat on a grill, along with other common temperatures, you’ll need to make regular use of your grill thermometer. The hood thermometer will tell you the temperature just above the cooking grates.
If your grill doesn’t have a thermometer, you can purchase an ambient sensor. This Weber iGrill Ambient Grill Thermometer is a popular option that allows you to monitor temperatures on your smartphone or compatible device. Any reliable ambient grill thermometer would be a good investment this summer.
Medium heat is the perfect go-to temperature for a range of ingredients, and you can adjust your burners or grill vents to go higher or lower for specific ingredients.
When you understand the relationship between grilling temperature and flavor, you’ll enjoy outdoor cooking more than ever before.