Are You Ready for Grilling Season? Order Your Accessories and Parts Now!
How To Control Heat & Temperature

Welcome to BBQ 101! Char-Griller and Kingsford have teamed up with Susie from Hey Grill Hey, and each week we're going to go through the basics of barbecue to help you become a backyard barbecue pro in no time.

Some people get intimidated by charcoal because they feel like it's too difficult to control to maintain the temperature. We're going to break that misconception.

The first thing to know about controlling the temperature on your grill really comes down to charcoal placement. Depending on where you place the charcoal within your grill, you can create different temperatures and different temperature zones.

Temperature zones make it easy to keep parts of the grill at the ideal temperature for what you want to cook.

With the Smokin' Champ, you have the option to set your grill up in three different ways to achieve different temperature outcomes. You can load the Side Fire Box and use it for low and slow smoking at 255 to 250 degrees. You can load the main chamber with an even layer of charcoal to cook things like burgers or hot dogs, or you can set up a two-zone fire in the main chamber to grill hot and fast on one side and low and slow on the other.

Not only does the Smokin' Champ's large grilling surface give you a ton of options, but you can also use the Adjustable Charcoal Tray to raise and lower the charcoal to get even more control over the temperature.

Another way to control the temperature is using the dampers. The Smokin' Champ has a side damper and the smokestack that can be adjusted.

If you want the grill hotter, simply open the dampers for more air flow and if you want to cool it down, close the campers to reduce airflow.

You've probably heard the grilling phrases direct grilling and indirect grilling. These phrases are just describing using different temperature zones to cook.

Direct grilling is when you place what you're cooking right over the charcoal. Think, searing a ribeye. The Smokin' Champ's cast iron grates make it easy to get those perfect sear marks when you're grilling with direct heat.

Indirect cooking is when you use the side of your grill not directly above the coals in a two-zone fire, using the warming rack, or offset smoking.

In a nutshell, you want to be closer to the charcoal for hotter cooking and further away for cooking with cooler temperatures.

In general, all of these guidelines will help you dial in the temperature of your grill, but one of the things that new grillers, and even some veteran grillers struggle with is keeping temperatures consistent when it is colder outside.

A way to help combat that is to place your grill in an area with a windbreak. The more wind that is lowing directly on your grill, the harder it will be to keep those temperatures dialed in. More air equals more heat, so it is important to try and avoid wind to help maintain a consistent temperature.

When it is colder outside, give the grill more time to get to temperature. The colder it is, the longer it will take.

Finally, use more charcoal than you think you need, and you'll need to use more to refuel as well. You'll use more charcoal when it is cold outside to help offset the external temperature shift that is trying to change the temperature inside your grill.

Like many aspects of grilling and smoking, the key really is patience and persistence. Dialing in the temperature and knowing how to control it is a matter of learning your grill and your backyard environment, but with some patience and the right tools, you will be well on your way to getting those temperatures right where you want them.