Grilling Temperature Guide

Grilling Temperature GuideZippoBranded

When to use:

Low & Slow: 225-275 degrees F.

Low and slow refers to keeping the temperature of your grill to at least 225 degrees F for a longer period of time. This is usually anything over an hour. This is technically referred to as barbecuing.

What can I cook with this method?

  • Large foods that are high in fat and connective tissues, like beef brisket, prime rib, turkey breast, and roasts, which need a lot of time to get warm in the center.

Why use this method?

  • It’s easier to control the outcome of your meat when cooking low and slow. You can ensure that the inside will be juicy and tender without scorching the outside of your meat to a burnt crisp, because the heat under the lid circulates throughout the entire cut of meat.


  1. Use indirect heat.
  2. Keep the lid on to trap heat and let it circulate.
  3. Keep your heat as consistent as possible.
  4. Use the “The Maillard Effect” to get a nice sear on the outside when the center of your meat is safe and cooked.

Medium: 325-375 degrees F

This is the average temperature to preheat your grill to before you begin the grilling process. Preheating should take about 10-15 minutes. Most foods are grilled around medium or medium-high heat ranging from 325-450 degrees F.

What can I cook with this method?

  • Your average grilling foods: hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, steak and fish.

Why use this method?

  • If you take a cut of meat that is 2″ thick and throw it down over high heat, you can get that perfect sear you want, but your meat will have bands of all different temps with only the center at reddish pink, the temperature at which steak is juiciest and most tender. With medium, you will get a more evenly-cooked inside and you can crank up the heat when you want to sear the outside.


  1. Use direct heat.
  2. Lid down, but check and rotate meat often.


High and Fast: 450-650 degrees F

This is where you’ll get that nice sear on the outside of your meats or vegetables.

What can I cook with this method?

  • Hot and fast works for thin/skinny foods like skirt steak, asparagus, and shrimp that don’t require a lot of inner heat circulation to cook.

Why use this method?

  • Short cooking process and a tasty seared crust.


  1. Get the food directly above the heat source so infrared, radiant heat only hits the bottom surface of the meat or food.
  2. Keep the lid off the grill.
  3. Turn food often.


RULE OF THUMB: The thicker the meat, the lower the temperature. The thinner the meat, the hotter and faster you can cook.

Your food is safe to eat at:
Beef & Pork- 145 degrees F.
Ground Meats- 160 degrees F.
All Poultry- 165 degrees F.
Fish- 145 degrees F.

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