Pay attention to your barbecue’s temperature

One of my biggest pieces of advice for anyone who is wanting to learn how to barbecue better is to learn how to control the fire, don’t let the fire control you.


Written by Laura R – Weber Grill Specialist

Controlling the fire involves two important factors. First you need to understand how to use different types of heat, direct heat or indirect heat. Secondly its learning the importance of using the right amount of heat needed to cook your food.

Types of Heat

Direct heat is when you are cooking food directly above the heat source, whether it’s a lit burner or over the coals. Indirect heat is when the food is cooked on the barbecue with the burner/coals to one side or either side of the food, not directly under the food. To learn more about direct vs indirect heat read our article: Direct vs Indirect cooking.

Controlling the Temperature

Controlling the temperature of your barbecue is first setting up your barbecue correctly with the right amount of fuel for the temperature needed to cook your food, then monitoring and controlling the temperature whilst your food is cooking.

What’s the importance of using different temperatures?

Now that you understand the difference between direct and indirect heat, let’s go into a bit more detail on the benefits of using different temperatures on your barbecue.

There is no point turning every burner on your barbecue on the highest setting and throwing all different kinds of food onto the cooking grills. Your chicken pieces will burn before being cooked through, the vegetables will be scorched, your beautiful thick rib eye will be seared perfectly and raw in the middle. I think you get the gist, hopefully we have now got your attention..

Keeping the temperature just right

How do you control the temperature of your barbecue?

Each Weber barbecue sold in Australia and New Zealand comes with a cooking handbook that demonstrates the best cooking methods for that barbecue, such as barbecuing, roasting or baking.

The heat inside a charcoal barbecue will be controlled by two main factors, the quantity of fuel you use and how much air flow you allow inside the barbecue.

Once you have followed the fuel quantity as per your handbook the temperature range can still waiver depending on a variety of factors like ambient temperature, wind or rain. The easiest way to regulate the temperature of your charcoal barbecue is to adjust the vents. By slightly closing the vents you are restricting the airflow and the fire which will decrease the temperature inside the barbecue. By opening the vents you are increasing the airflow and temperature inside the barbecue.

On a gas barbecue, it is as simple as adjusting the burner controls.