How to Control Temperature on a Charcoal Grill, 4 Easy Methods

For Grilling perfect food on a charcoal smoker grill, controlling temperature is the most crucial step to protect the outside of meat from burning another reason why knowing how to control heat on your charcoal grill is so important is the varying temperature requirements of different recipes i.e. steak needs a higher temperature to cook to seared from the outside but remains pink from the inside but in case of cooking meat or pork you need a much lower temperature to protect it from scorching.

How to Control Temperature on a Charcoal Grill

4 Methods, How to Control Temperature on a Charcoal Grill

Using Intake and Exhaust Dampers

Controlling temperature through adjusting dampers is the most viable way we can use due to the built-in top and bottom dampers with a lid cover. More air flows inside the grill causing faster coal burning and increasing heat. So, if you want to increase the temperature open the bottom dampers of your charcoal grill, and use the upper dampers to throw heat and combustion gases out of the grill and maintain the temperature according to your food requirements.

Using Intake and Exhaust Dampers

Meat, your grill size, and coals all are the factors that will be considered to control temperature more precisely but according to my experience, I am suggesting dampers setting below to achieve a certain temperature.

  • For achieving 450-550°F temperature open your bottom damper to its full.
  • You can open half of it to achieve 350-450°F.
  • For keeping your grill temperature at 250-350 degrees Fahrenheit open one-fourth portion of your grill’s bottom damper.
  • For lower temperatures like 150 degrees Fahrenheit open one over eight portions (1/8) of the damper. 
  • For shutting down your smoker turn your bottom dampers off so that coal stop burning due to the lack of oxygen.
  • Always try to keep clean your smoker because clogging bottom dampers can affect the cooking performance of your grill.

Guard your Food with a Shield

No doubt, Aluminum Foil is a great tool in your BBQ arsenal and here you can also use it to make a protection layer between your food and direct flame coming from coals and wood chips. This method is only recommended when heat is unmanageable and it is not possible for you to wait.

So you can use the aluminum foil to cover your food as it is not exposed to direct heat. The best practice is to use a three-layer thick foil or use two or three pieces it depends upon the temperature you need to cook your food in a safe manner.

using aluminium  foil for protectin food from charcoal grill heat

Cooking Zones Technique

This technique is very simple and is also my favorite method for grilling. You have to make layers of coals by dividing your charcoal grill area into two or three parts it is not necessary that you can divide the zones with a specific size you can choose according to your cooking requirements and grill size.

1st layer will serve as the hottest zone with a double-quoted layer of coals and used to sear food. The second layer has a single layer of coal and serves as a middle heat area to cook food like chicken and the third layer will be an empty space without any layer of coal and serve as the coolest zone of the grill for keeping the cooked food warm.

cooking zone technique

Adjust Grill Grates According to Temperature Requirements

This is also a very simple method to cook food according to its required heat and temperature. But for applying this method, you need a charcoal grill that has an adjustable upper grill grate for moving your food away or towards the burning coals by adjusting it on different levels. The food which requires more heat can be cooked by keeping it near the burning coals or wood pellets.

Do you leave the lid open or closed when heating charcoal?

While heating and lightning up charcoal it will be open after pouring coals inside and lightning up we will close the lid of charcoal grill to protect the heat from flashing out.

Final Words

Being a pit-master it is necessary to know recipes and tools application required to cook food in a more proficient manner. In this article you have read the 4 methods of controlling temperature of your charcoal grill or how to cook food according to its required temperature where’s the temperature of charcoal grill is very high. So, keep all these things in mind before you start grilling and amaze your friends and family members by cooking like a pro.

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