Controlling the heat of your fire is the first rule of grilling, and the most reliable and time-honored method of testing the heat of your fire is not an expensive gadget: it’s your hand.

And, no, we’re not suggesting you actually touch the fire or the grate to see if it’s hot. (Grillmaster Tip: If anyone tells you to touch fire, don’t do it- ok?)

But the next time your grill is heating, DO hold your hand OVER the grate and your urge to move your hand away will be your measurement tool.


After starting up the burners, hold your hand 1 to 2 inches over the grate, and you’ll be able to approximate the heat level.

If the radiating heat makes you move your hand away in 1-2 seconds, you’ve got a fire at high heat.

If you move your hand away in 3 seconds, you’re at a medium-high temperature.

If you move your hand away in 4-5 seconds, you’ve got a moderate fire.

Try “The Fire and the Hand Test” before you put food on the grate for grilling, and you’ll be an ‘old hand’ at this – knowing your grill’s temperature – before long.

Happy grilling!