Grilling 101: What Temperature is the Best?

Apr 24, 2023

Grilling season is here! Just as you would adjust the temperature of the oven when cooking different foods, you should also do the same when grilling. Using the right temperature is essential for food safety, but it will also make all the difference in retaining the moisture and flavor of your meat.
So, what is the correct temperature for chicken, steak, and burgers? See our general guidelines below, but keep in mind that some grills may require slight modifications.
The grill temperature for chicken is high, between 425° F and 450° F. The internal temperature of chicken should be between 165° F and 175° F to ensure it is fully cooked and safe to eat. Insert a cooking thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken and leave for several seconds to get an accurate reading. Generally, grilling chicken breasts for a total of 10 minutes, five minutes on each side, should be sufficient, but check before eating.
         The best grill temperature for steak is even hotter than for chicken, generally 450° F to 500° F, to sear the outside quickly and retain the juices inside. If the steak is a thicker cut, consider starting at a lower temperature, between 225° F and 250° F, to ensure the meat cooks evenly before searing at a higher temperature for a flavorful crust. Because everyone likes their steaks cooked differently, there are a variety of temperature ranges that are acceptable depending on your desired level of doneness. Listed below are some general internal temperature guidelines:
  • Rare — 120° F to 130° F
  • Medium Rare — 130° F to 135° F
  • Medium — 135° F to 145° F
  • Medium Well — 145° F to 155° F
  • Well Done — 155° F to 165° F
         Burgers should be grilled at medium high heat, generally between 350° F to 400° F. The goal is to cook the burgers quickly so they don’t become tough. For thin patties that are ¼-inch or less, consider bumping up the temperature to 450° F to cook the meat quickly without overcooking. For thick patties that are ¾-inch or more, you may use a lower temperature of 325° F to 350° F to thoroughly cook the inside of the patty without burning the outside. The internal temperature of ground beef should be 160° F for food safety reasons.
Your local Co-op carries a variety of grilling supplies, including propane, charcoal, grilling utensils, and sometimes even the grill itself. Products vary by location, so call ahead for more details!
For more content like this, check out the latest issue of The Cooperator.

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