Grilling temperatures: what is low, medium and high?

Following a recipe that says you should grill at medium heat but what is medium heat on a grill? Well, we think the temperatures below answer exactly that.

These temperatures are a matter of opinion as to what is low, medium, and high. One grill master will say one thing another completely different. These temperatures work for me when I’ve followed recipes to grill at a certain heat.

What is low heat on a grill?

Low heat on a grill is a temperature range between 200 – 300 degrees Fahrenheit(93.3 – 148.9 Degrees Celcius). Low temperatures are not ideal for grilling meats that require searing. It would normally be used to indirectly cook the meats after or before searing.

Delicate meats such as sausages are usually grilled over a lower heat. Too high heat and sausage outer casing cooks before the inside is cooked

Smoking temperatures

A low heat temperature on a charcoal grill is mainly used for smoking meats. The temperature range most used for smoking is 225 – 275 Degrees Fahrenheit. Smoking is done using an indirect method and not directly over the heat.

What is medium heat on a grill?

Medium heat on a grill is between 300 – 400 degrees Fahrenheit(148.9 – 204.4 degrees Celcius). Medium heat would be used to grill burgers, chicken, pork belly slices, all of the casual BBQ food.

A medium heat grill can cook the internal of the meat, while being hot enough to sear the outside without burning. Although lots of care and attention needs to be paid while grilling at a medium heat.

Vegetables such as spring onions also grill much better at medium heat, cooking through without burning.

What is high heat on a gill?

High heat on the grill is 400 – 500 degrees Fahrenheit( 204.4 – 260 degrees Celcius). High heat is used for cooking meats such as steak. Thin pieces of meat that require quick cooking, will be grilled at a high temperature.

Not only is it just meat that is cooked at high heat.

  • Vegetables such as corn and peppers get a nice charred taste to them when grilled at heat.
  • Halloumi, grills quickly and is served straight from high heat.
  • Sauces, like curries are cooked over high heat and work very well with the addition of the smoky flavor from the BBQ.

Searing temperatures

Searing temperatures for meat can exceed high heat and sometimes the BBQ will reach temperatures of 600+ degrees Fahrenheit. These higher heat temperatures give you the best sear. Once seared the temperature of the grill can be dropped with a proper understanding of how the grill works to cook through the meat before serving.

what is medium heat a grill

Checking the temperature of the grill

There are several ways to check the temperature of the grill. Depending on which grill it may come with a temperature gauge on the lid. Temperatures gauges in lids can be a good indication of what the grill is doing however can be inaccurate, especially on older grills.

The most accurate way of checking the grill is with a leave-in digital temperature thermometer, some have multiple probes that allow you to check the BBQ’s ambient temperature with one of the probes while checking the internal temperature of the meat with another probe.

Infrared red thermometer guns can also be used to check BBQ temperatures. They can be inaccurate when shone onto a BBQ lid, as most are shiny reflective surfaces that don’t work well with infrared guns. But it will again give you a ball-park area the grill is at.

Final say

Hopefully, you should understand what is medium heat on a grill. With the temperatures shown above, you should be able to work out what combined heat like medium-high heat is.

We mentioned sausages at a low heat temperature but they would be grilled over medium-low heat. BBQ’s can be temperamental so be patient and don’t panic if you don’t reach these exact temperatures. As long as the food reaches its exact internal cooked temperature it is safe to eat. Remember grilling on a BBQ is not like using an oven where you can hone in on an exact temperature and the oven will respond.