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What Temp Is High Heat On a Grill?

What Temp Is High Heat On a Grill?

Are you new to the grilling game and get confused as to what lines like “sear at high heat for 3 minutes” mean in your recipe? Specifically about what exactly “high heat” entails? 

High heat for a grill usually means anywhere from 450-600 degrees Fahrenheit.

But what do you cook at high heat? Is there anything else to know? In this article we will explain it all, so without further ado, let’s get right into it!

What Does High Heat Mean On a Grill?

High heat is the grill’s general maximum heat setting, which is generally between 450-600 degrees Fahrenheit. These sizzling hot temperatures allow for rapid cooking and are usually used for grilling directly.

It is effective for grilling a variety of meals that gain from rapid and intense heat. Steak, fish, chicken breasts, pizza, chops, and fruits or vegetables with low and high moisture content are some notable examples.

Further, temperatures above 600 degrees go beyond the high heat range. You can imagine how boiling it becomes because this is the setting on the grill temperature chart with the maximum temperature.

Foods that require direct grilling or infrared grilling respond well to these temperature levels. Some people find that food exposed to this temperature feels a little bit harsh. But generally, they’re fairly good. Chops and searing steaks are a couple of the meals you can cook at this temperature.

Grilling steaks on flaming grill

How Do You Heat a Grill On High?

Whether you have a charcoal or gas grill, you can achieve high temperatures on both.

Firstly, let’s start with the charcoal grill. A charcoal grill takes more time and effort than a gas grill when increasing its temperature.

A chimney starter is the first step in getting your charcoal grill hot. They cost less than $20 and provide a regulated means of starting a fire.

You should first place your chimney on a heat-resistant surface since they may get so hot that you can stir-fry on them. Fill the grill with charcoal, place the vent on the grates, and let it smolder for about 15 minutes or until the charcoal is entirely ashy. This is the most crucial visual indicator that it is hot enough. Replace the grate, add coals to one side of the grill’s base, and start seeing the temperature climb.

Your coals burn hotter the more air they are exposed to since they are oxygen-dependent. Therefore, to maintain high heat, leave the lid off and set the bottom vents to their widest opening.
Now for a gas grill, choose the heat setting and then let it warm up before cooking, just like you would with an oven. For optimum heat retention, it is preferable to preheat a gas grill for 15 minutes with the lid down. 

The surface gets hot enough in a brief period to cook things like steaks and shrimp kebabs quickly. A common technique that is often used to retain high temperatures is that no matter whether the stove has four or eight burners, turn some of them on high, some off, and leave some on medium. You will have abundant space in heat zones as a result.

Should I Grill Steaks On High Heat?

When it comes to cooking a steak, the significance of getting the grill as hot as possible cannot be overstated. When cooking steaks, it’s typical that people use insufficient heat or medium heat, which is a huge error. This can occur when there isn’t enough heat there, to begin with. 

Home stovetops frequently don’t produce as much heat as commercial ones. But when they see a lot of smoke or hear a huge, loud sizzle, home chefs frequently become a bit uneasy and lower the heat. Although this is a normal reaction, it is vital that when cooking your steaks make sure you are prepared for the heat.

Of course, when grilling on high heat, you don’t want to burn your food or start a fire, but it’s crucial to use the maximum heat possible while grilling a steak. This is to ensure your steak will be more tender since high heat cooks food more quickly.

To create the Maillard reaction, a chemical process that results in the tasty brown crust on the outside of a steak, intense heat is necessary. You won’t be able to get that golden, delicious deliciousness if your pan or grill isn’t hot enough. Instead, you’ll receive a flavorless, rough, gray steak.

How To Know The Temperature Of Your Grill

There are a few techniques to determine the temperature of your grill. These are:

  1. Point-and-shoot thermometer: Simply direct the laser beam of the thermometer at one of the grill grate’s bars to get the temperature.
  2. The Mississippi approach: This technique includes placing your hand 3 inches over the grate. You can feel the heat clearly by placing your palm over the grate. Next count “One Mississippi, two Mississippi” and so on. You normally should be able to hold your hand over a hot grill for two to three seconds, a medium grill for five to six seconds, and a low grill for ten to twelve seconds.
  3. Grilling thermometer: This strategy utilizes measuring the temperature of your grill safely and precisely with a grilling thermometer. Put a gator clip on the probe to hold it stable. Just ignore the dome thermometer, as there is frequently a 50-degree temperature differential between it and the grill’s grate.
Tasty sausage on hot grill with spices and herbs

Final Words to What High Heat for a Grill Means

To summarize, grill temperatures above 450 degrees Fahrenheit are considered high and are used for direct grilling. These temperatures are so high that your palm held 3 inches over the grill should be able to handle it for 2 to 3 seconds.

But these temperatures are also ideal for grilling steaks as they require high heat to get that delicious and crispy brown outer layer. You may also use a grilling or pointing thermometer if you don’t feel like risking your hand.  

Lindsay Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! I created this website to be a resource for everyone who wants to make the best home possible.