How Hot Are Your Coals?

How can I judge how hot the coals in my charcoal grill are?

Cautiously hold your hand 4 inches over the coals. Start counting the number of seconds you can hold your hand in place before the heat forces you to pull away.

  • If you can hold your hand above the fire for no more than 2 seconds, the heat level is "hot" (about 500°).
  • If you can only hold your hand above the coals for 3 seconds, the heat level is "medium-hot" (about 400°).
  • If you can hold your hand above the coals for no more than 4 seconds, the heat level is "medium" (about 350°).
  • If you can hold your hand above the coals for about 5 seconds, the heat level is "low" (about 300°).

 
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