Grill Troubleshooting Guide

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Grill Troubleshooting Guide

Seems like just about 1 out of 3 men are always asking me the same question -- “I’ve tried everything and I just can’t seem to get it up. What do I do?” 

Of course, they’re talking about consistent heat control, not that other problem. And getting the heat up in your grill or smoker is a perfectly natural problem many barbecuers suffer from.

Just follow these tips and you’ll have no problem impressing your neighbors with your perfectly-sized fire.

Every grill (or smoker) is different, but there are 3 main reasons why you might not be able to get your temperature up:

  • 1
    Cooking Several Chunks Of Meat At The Same Time
  • 2
    Grill/Smoker Issues
  • 3
    Poor Cooking Technique

You can easily pinpoint your problem by checking off a few things on the cheat sheet we included at the bottom of this email.

Meat is mostly water. When you heat the meat, the water leaks out from the inside to the surface and starts to cool it. Your body does the same thing when you sweat.

If you are cooking multiple chunks of meat at once, well….that’s a lot of meat sweat cooling down the inside. The size of the meat, how thick it is, how cold it is, and the direction from which the heat is penetrating are also very important things to consider.

The hot air in your grill is like a delicate woman. The smallest, most seemingly insignificant thing can turn her into a bitchy ice queen. 

Here’s A Quick List Of Possible Problems:

1. Appliance Issues
  • Your appliance needs to be thoroughly cleaned of ash and leftover gunk.
  • Your poorly constructed appliance is leaking heat (thin walls and loose doors).
  • On a charcoal grill, open the intake vent a bit more.
  • On a gas grill, turn up the fuel
2. Fuel Source
  • You didn’t use enough charcoal or wood.
  • The quality of the charcoal or wood sucks.
  • The charcoal or wood has gone bad (wet charcoal or rotting wood).
3. Poor Cooking Technique
  • You keep opening the lid and checking frequently.
  • The pieces of meat are too close to each other (there should be at least a 2” gap).
  • Any meat closest to the heat source will cook faster than the pieces farther away.
  • You are experiencing the dreaded “stall,” where the internal temp of large cuts of meat rises quickly, then suddenly just stops going up for no apparent reason. Either raise the temp or wrap it in foil with some liquid when it hits 150°F inside.
4. Other Things To Consider
  • You are trying to cook BBQ at high altitudes where oxygen is low.
  • You are using an inferior thermometer (especially if it’s built into the appliance).
  • Use a water pan to stabilize the temp by adding moisture to the air inside the cooker.
  • Don’t excessively mop or spritz the meat or you increase cooking time.
  • Cold weather or wind are arch enemies of thin-walled cookers.
  • Low humidity is increasing the cooking time.
  • Your altitude is affecting your cookout.

Mastering temperature control is an art and a science, just like BBQ. The best thing you can do to overcome this common challenge is learn the science behind smoking and grilling perfectly cooked meats.

Then you take your fancy theories and knowledge and apply them to your cookouts (this is the art part of BBQ). 

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