Meat Grilling Guide

There are two ways to grill: directly or indirectly. These methods
have less to do with the type of grill you are using or the style of
food you are cooking than with the thickness and volume of what you are
grilling.

Knowing which method to use and how best to do it is a very important part of mastering the art and science of grilling and impressing your family and friends.

Direct Grilling is the most basic and simple way to cook, while also being the oldest method of cooking.

Foods are grilled directly over the heat.

You can grill with a piece of meat and a fire. It is the direct exposure to the heat that cooks the food. It doesn’t get much simpler than that!

There is one basic variation to direct grilling, however: leaving the lid up, or keeping it down.

These days we have cooking devices with lids. It is this lid that determines whether the food is grilled or baked. By closing the lid you hold in the heat and allow foods to be cooked all over.

The foods you cook with direct heat are the traditional grilling fare: steaks, burgers, fish fillets, etc.

Anything that is less than 2 inches in thickness should be cooked by the direct grilling method.

These are food items that generally cook quickly and benefit from the fast cooking of a hot grill.

As for having the lid up or down, generally you should choose to keep the lid down. The only reason to grill with the lid up is when you are grilling items that need a lot of basting, or cook so quickly that having the lid down increasing the risk of over cooking.

Any large food ite or cuts of meat more than about 2 inches thick should be grilled indirectly.

Indirect Grilling is closer to baking than direct grilling.

This method requires that the heat source, in this case the “fire”, be built off to the side of where the grilling will take place. On a typical gas grill,
what you would generally do is turn the burners up only one half of the
grill.

This is the heated side.

You then place the food you wish to grill indirectly on the unheated side and close the lid.

Convection and radiant heat will then cook the food. Simply put, the food is not being exposed to direct heat from the burners, and as such, it will cook more evenly and be less likely to burn on the exposed side.

With indirect grilling, charcoal works just as well as gas. With a charcoal grill you simply build the fire on one side of the grill and cook on the other.
When using a charcoal grill to cook indirectly, it is best to build the fire like you always would and then use a small metal shovel or similar tool to shift the hot coals to one side.

CHARTS

Cooking times for beef and lamb use the
USDA’s definition of medium doneness unless otherwise noted.

Before carving, let roasts, larger cuts of meat, and thick chops and steaks rest for 5 to 10 minutes after cooking. The internal temperature of the meat will rise by 5 to 10 degrees during this time.

GAS GRILLS

The following cuts, thicknesses, weights, and grilling times are meant to be guidelines.

Such factors as altitude, wind, and outside temperature can affect cooking times.

Grill steaks, fish fillets, boneless chicken pieces, and vegetables using the direct method for the time given on the chart (or to the desired doneness), turning food once halfway through grilling time.

Grill roasts, whole poultry, bone-in poultry pieces, whole fish, and thicker cuts using the indirect method for the time given on the chart (or until an instant-read thermometer registers the desired internal temperature).

Cooking times for beef and lamb use the USDA’s definition of medium doneness unless otherwise noted.

Before carving, let roasts, larger cuts of meat, and thick chops and steaks rest for 5 to 10 minutes after cooking. The internal temperature of the meat will rise by 5 to 10 degrees during this time.

GAS GRILLS CHART

Thickness / Weight Approximate Total
Grilling Ti

 

 

 

 

Thickness / Weight Approximate Total Grilling Time
GRILLING GUIDE – GAS RED MEAT Steak: New York strip, porterhouse,
rib-eye,T-bone, and filet mignon (tenderloin)
¾ inch thick 4 to 6 minutes direct high heat
1 inch thick 6 to 8 minutes direct high heat
2 inches thick 14 to 18 minutes sear 6 to 8 minutes direct high heat, and
grill 8 to 10 minutes indirect high heat
Flank Steak 1½ to 2 pounds, ¾ inch thick 8 to 10 minutes direct medium heat
Ground Beef Patty ¾ inch thick 8 to 10 minutes direct medium heat
Tenderloin 3 to 4 pounds 45 to 60 minutes 15 minutes direct medium heat, and grill 30
to 45 minutes indirect medium heat
PORK Bratwurst: fresh 3-ounce link 20 to 25 minutes direct low heat
Chop: boneless or bone in ¾ inch thick 6 to 8 minutes direct high heat
1¼ to 1½ inches thick 10 to 12 minutes sear 6 minutes direct high heat, and grill 4
to 6 minutes indirect high heat
Ribs: baby back, spareribs 3 to 4 pounds 1½ to 2 hours indirect medium heat
Ribs: country-style, bone in 3 to 4 pounds 1½ to 2 hours indirect medium heat
Tenderloin 1 pound 30 minutes sear 5 minutes direct high heat,and grill 25
minutes indirect medium heat
POULTRY Chicken Breast: boneless, skinless 6 to 8 ounces 8 to 12 minutes direct medium heat
Chicken Thigh: boneless, skinless 4 ounces 8 to 10 minutes direct medium heat
Chicken Pieces: bone in, assorted 3 to 6 ounces 35 to 40 minutes 6 to 10 minutes direct low heat, 30 minutes
indirect medium heat
Chicken: whole 4 to 5 pounds 1 to 1¼ hours indirect medium heat
Cornish Game Hen 1½ to 2 pounds 60 to 70 minutes indirect medium heat
Turkey: whole, unstuffed 10 to 12 pounds 2 to 2½ hours indirect medium heat
SEAFOOD Fish, Fillet or Steak: halibut, red
snapper, salmon, sea bass, swordfish, and tuna
¼ to ½ inch thick 3 to 5 minutes direct medium heat
1 to 1¼ inches thick 10 to 12 minutes direct medium heat
Fish: whole 1 pound 15 to 20 minutes indirect medium heat
3 pounds 30 to 45 minutes indirect medium heat
Shrimp 1½ ounces 2 to 4 minutes direct high heat
VEGETABLES Asparagus ½-inch diameter 6 to 8 minutes direct medium heat
Corn in husk 25 to 30 minutes direct medium heat
husked 10 to 15 minutes direct medium heat
Mushroom shiitake or button 8 to 10 minutes direct medium heat
portabello 10 to 15 minutes direct medium heat
Onion halved 35 to 40 minutes of indirect medium heat
½ inch slices 8 to 12 minutes direct medium heat
Potato whole 45 to 60 minutes of indirect medium heat
½ inch slices 9 to 11 minutes parboil 3 minutes, and grill 6 to 8 minutes
direct medium heat

 

CHARCOAL GRILLS

The following cuts, thicknesses, weights, and grilling times
are meant to be guidelines. Factors such as altitude, wind, and outside
temperature can affect cooking times.

Grill steaks, fish fillets, boneless chickenpieces, and vegetables using the direct method for the time given on the chart (or to the desired doneness), turning food once halfway through grilling time.

Grill roasts, whole poultry, bone-in poultry pieces, whole fish, and thicker cuts using the indirect method for the time given on the chart (or until an instant-read thermometer registers the desired internal temperature).

Cooking times for beef and lamb use the USDA’s definition of medium doneness unless otherwise noted.

Before carving, let roasts, larger cuts of meat, and thick chops and steaks
rest for 5 to 10 minutes after cooking. The internal temperature of the
meat will rise by 5 to 10 degrees during this time.

CHARCOAL GRILLS CHART

 

 

 

 

Thickness / Weight Approximate Total Grilling Time
GRILLING GUIDE – CHARCOAL RED MEAT Steak: New York strip, porterhouse,
rib-eye,T-bone, and filet mignon (tenderloin)
¾ inch thick 4 to 6 minutes direct high heat
1 inch thick 6 to 8 minutes direct high heat
2 inches thick 14 to 18 minutes sear 6 to 8 minutes direct high heat, and
grill 8 to 10 minutes indirect high heat
Flank Steak 1½ to 2 pounds, ¾ inch thick 8 to 10 minutes direct medium heat
Ground Beef Patty ¾ inch thick 8 to 10 minutes direct medium heat
Tenderloin 3 to 4 pounds 45 to 60 minutes 15 minutes direct medium heat, and grill 30
to 45 minutes indirect medium heat
PORK Bratwurst: fresh 3 ounce link 20 to 25 minutes direct low heat
Chop: boneless or bone in ¾ inch thick 6 to 8 minutes direct high heat
1¼ to 1½ inches thick 10 to 12 minutes sear 6 minutes direct high heat, and grill 4
to 6 minutes indirect high heat
Ribs: baby back, spareribs 3 to 4 pounds 1½ to 2 hours indirect medium heat
Ribs: country-style, bone in 3 to 4 pounds 1½ to 2 hours indirect medium heat
Tenderloin 1 pound 30 minutes sear 5 minutes direct high heat,and grill 25
minutes indirect medium heat
POULTRY Chicken Breast: boneless, skinless 6 to 8 ounces 8 to 12 minutes direct medium heat
Chicken Thigh: boneless, skinless 4 ounces 8 to 10 minutes direct medium heat
Chicken Pieces: bone in, assorted 3 to 6 ounces 35 to 40 minutes 6 to 10 minutes direct low heat, 30 minutes
indirect medium heat
Chicken: whole 4 to 5 pounds 1 to 1¼ hours indirect medium heat
Cornish Game Hen 1½ to 2 pounds 60 to 70 minutes indirect medium heat
Turkey: whole, unstuffed 10 to 12 pounds 2 to 2½ hours indirect medium heat
SEAFOOD Fish, Fillet or Steak: halibut, red
snapper, salmon, sea bass, swordfish, and tuna
¼ to ½ inch thick 3 to 5 minutes direct medium heat
1 to 1¼ inches thick 10 to 12 minutes direct medium heat
Fish: whole 1 pound 15 to 20 minutes indirect medium heat
3 pounds 30 to 45 minutes indirect medium heat
Shrimp 1½ ounces 2 to 4 minutes direct high heat
VEGETABLES Asparagus ½-inch diameter 6 to 8 minutes direct medium heat
Corn in husk 25 to 30 minutes direct medium heat
husked 10 to 15 minutes direct medium heat
Mushroom shiitake or button 8 to 10 minutes direct medium heat
portabello 10 to 15 minutes direct medium heat
Onion halved 35 to 40 minutes indirect medium heat
½ inch slices 8 to 12 minutes direct medium heat
Potato whole 45 to 60 minutes indirect medium heat
 

 

½ inch slices 9 to 11 minutes parboil 3 minutes, and grill 6 to 8 minutes
direct medium heat

 

SMOKERS

The cuts, thicknesses, weights, charcoal quantities and cooking times are meant to be guidelines rather than hard and fast rules.

Cooking times are affected by such factors as altitude, wind, outside temperature, and desired doneness.

Cooking times for beef are for the United States Department of Agriculture’s
definition of medium doneness unless otherwise noted. Cooking times
listed are for foods that have been completely thawed.

SMOKERS CHART

 

 

 

 

Thickness / Weight Smoking Time Wood Chunks Internal Temperature
GRILLING GUIDE – SMOKER RED MEAT Beef brisket 5 to 6 pounds 8 to 13 hours 3 to 5 190 °F (88 °C) well-done
Lamb roast, venison 5 to 7 pounds 5 to 6 hours 3 to 5 160 °F (71 °C) medium
Large cuts of game 7 to 9 pounds 6 to 8 hours 3 to 5 170 °F (76 °C) well-done
Beef ribs 7 to 9 pounds – full grill 6 to 7 hours 2 to 4 160 °F (71 °C) well-done
PORK Pork roast 4 to 8 pounds 5 to 6 hours 3 to 5 170 °F (76 °C) well-done
Pork ribs 4 to 6 pounds – full grill 4 to 6 hours 2 to 4 170 °F (76 °C) well-done – Meat begins to pull from bone
Ham: fresh whole 10 to 18 pounds 8 to 12 hours 2 to 4 170 °F (76 °C) well-done
Pork shoulder 4 to 8 pounds 8 to 12 hours 3 to 5 190 °F (88 °C) well-done
POULTRY Chicken: whole 5 pounds 2½ to 3½ hours 1 to 3 165 °F (74 °C) medium
Turkey: whole 8 to 12 pounds 4 to 5 hours 2 to 4 165 °F (74 °C) medium
12 to 18 pounds 8 to 10 hours 3 to 5 165 °F (74 °C) medium
Duck: whole 3 to 4 pounds 2 to 2½ hours 3 to 4 180 °F (82 °C) medium
SEAFOOD Whole Fish: small full grill 1 to 1½ hours 2 to 4 Flakes with fork
Whole Fish: large 3 to 6 pounds 3 to 4 hours 2 to 4 Flakes with fork
Lobster and Shrimp full grill 1 hour 2 to 4 Firm and pink