Control heat when grilling

Temperature is critical!

I don’t have a lot of experience grilling but over the 4th of July weekend, I got thinking about how much of a science cooking a barbeque can be!

Heat spontaneously flows from a hotter to a colder body and temperature (or more to the point temperature difference) is what drives heat transfer.  Cooking is all about heat, how it propagates through food and what is the resultant impact on the food.

In order to cook anything, we need the following:

  • A heating element (fire, microwave, etc…)

  • A means of transferring the heat (how conductive the pan is, amount of air, oil)

  • The food.

So, when cooking food on a barbeque, how does one keep the temperature regulated and cook the food to perfection? You need to take into account both the temperature and how quickly the  heat is transferred through the food.

Here are some VERY easy tips to try:

  • For a rare steak with beautiful char lines, place the steaks on oiled grills directly over glowing hot coals to maximize heat transfer. This will ensure that the outside cooks faster than the inside.

  • Adjust the grill’s airflow to control the speed of heat transfer. By opening the vents more, more air mixes with the hot coals and more heat is transferred.

  • Control the heat by using a multi-zoned fire: A double thick layer for searing, a single layer for medium cooking and another free of coals for a safety zone.

  • Use a grill shield. If your food starts to cook (or burn) slide a folded piece of heavy-duty aluminum under the food. The shield blocks heat transfer, slowing the cooking process.

  • Remember: The higher the heat transfer, the lower the cooking time.