Open all the vents.
The best way to control your grill’s temperature is to open the bottom and top vents. You should leave these open throughout the cooking process, as this allows air flow through the grill. This airflow helps prevent flare-ups and allows the heat to disperse evenly across the surface of your food, which gives you more consistent results in terms of doneness and texture.
Light only one chimney starter full of coals.
If you want to know how to control charcoal grill heat with a chimney, check out the details on The Disney Chef website.
Spread out the coals in an even layer over half the bottom of your grill, using a metal spatula or tongs.
Spread out the coals in an even layer over half the bottom of your grill, using a metal spatula or tongs. Be careful not to spill the coals and use your tongs with care; they can get very hot. If you’re using a shovel, be sure it has been cleaned thoroughly before spreading the coals.
Adjust the distance between your food and the coals
The distance between your food and the coals is one way to control how hot your grill gets. If you want a low temperature on your grill, keep your food closer to the coals. Conversely, if you want a higher temperature at one end of the grill, keep it farther away.
Use a Grill Shield
One of the best ways to control the heat on your grill is using a grill shield. A grill shield is simply a metal screen that sits over your coals, preventing direct contact between the coals and your food. This can help you protect delicate foods from getting too hot, or keep certain parts of thicker meats from charing too quickly. Grilling shields are also useful for protecting your grill from flare-ups caused by dripping fat and grease hitting hot coals (you know how bad it smells when everything gets burnt).
Grill shields are not mandatory equipment, you can certainly cook without one. But they’re worth considering if you want to take some control over how much heat reaches your food.
Try to use as little charcoal as possible when grilling, so long as it’s enough for indirect cooking.
You’ve probably noticed that less charcoal produces less heat. So, if you have a large amount of charcoal in your grill, it likely won’t heat up as quickly or evenly as it would with more modest quantities of fuel.
The more charcoal you use for indirect cooking, the hotter your grill will get. That’s because the coals themselves contribute to your grill’s overall temperature. The more coals you have on the surface of the grate, the more heat they’ll generate and reflect back down toward whatever it is that you’re grilling.
On the flip side of this equation is that using less fuel actually helps keep your grill from getting too hot. Especially when compared with how much hotter things tend to get when grilling over direct heat.
Set up a 2-zone charcoal grill.
If you’re using a charcoal grill, the easiest way to control heat is to set up a two-zone fire. This means you’re going to have half of your grill hot and ready for searing meat, and the other half at low temperature so that food like chicken breast can cook through gently.
You can do this by placing coals on either side of your grill or by setting up one or more piles in the center (if they can’t be contained) with another pile and some kindling, dry wood chips or cardboard on top of them.
When building a two-zone fire, you want two things: evenness and distance between the food and the coals. If there are any holes in your pile of hot coals that allow air flow through it, those holes will act as vents for heat loss when placed under food that needs slower cooking times such as fish filets or pork tenderloin filets from which most of their fat has been removed before grilling time begins in earnest.
This makes sense because these foods usually require less high heat than meats like steak which need lots more sear time before being transferred off onto another part of our hot grills where they finish cooking without burning themselves over too much direct contact with blazing red embers. Just remember not to get too close!
It’s also important not only to place these items away from any open flames but also to move them frequently around so that each side gets equal exposure at some point during its journey towards perfection.”