How Long Should You Cook Food On The Grill?

Cooking food on the grill is a great way to add flavor and infuse your dish with that tasty grilled taste. However, all foods aren’t created equal, and some require different amounts of time to cook properly. In this BBQ post, I’ll explore how long you should cook food on the grill for optimal results.

I’ll also provide tips on how to tell when your food is done cooking. So, whether you’re a new griller or an expert at the BBQ, read on for some useful information!

Different Types Of Food And How Long To Cook Them On The Grill!

As I said before, not all food is created equal. Different meats and vegetables require different amounts of time to cook properly. Here’s a helpful guide on how long to cook different types of food on the grill:

1.      Chicken:

How long you should grill chicken breast will depend on the size of the chicken breast. For a standard chicken breast, you should grill for about 10 minutes per side.

If you’re grilling chicken thighs or drumsticks, they will take a bit longer, about 15 minutes per side.

2.      Beef:

For a delicious & perfect grilled steak, you need to cook for about 8 minutes per side. If you will like your steak more well-done, cook for 10 minutes per side. Beef burgers should be cooked for about 5 minutes per side.

It’s important to cook beef burgers all the way through to avoid food poisoning. Several cuts of beef, like flank steak or tri-tip, will take less time to grill.

3.      Pork:

Pork chops should be cooked for about 8-10 minutes per side, while pork tenderloin should be cooked for about 10-12 minutes per side. In general, pork benefits from a longer cook time than chicken or beef. For a grilled pork loin, cook for 30 minutes total.

You can also cook a whole pork roast on the grill, although it will take longer. Plan on cooking for about 60 minutes total. Don’t forget to read this blog on how to make juicy grilled pork chops.

4.      Vegetables:

Vegetables like zucchini, eggplant, and squash only need to be cooked for about 5 minutes per side. But heartier vegetables like potatoes and sweet potatoes will need to be cooked for 10-15 minutes per side.

The cooking time for vegetables will also depend on how thick they are sliced. For example, thin slices of squash will only need to be grilled for a few minutes, while thick slices will need to be grilled for longer.

5.      Fish:

Fish is delicate and should only be cooked for about 6-8 minutes per side. Some fish, like salmon, can be cooked for a bit longer. But in general, you don’t want to overcook fish, or it will become dry.

On the other hand, you also do not want to undercook fish, or it may not be cooked all the way through and can cause food poisoning.

6.      Shrimp:

Shrimp only need to be cooked for 2-3 minutes per side. Many people overcook shrimp, which makes them tough and rubbery. You will know shrimp are done when they turn pink and have an opaque center. When in doubt, it’s better to undercook shrimp than overcook them.

7.      Lobster:

For a whole lobster, you should cook for about 12 minutes. If you’re grilling lobster tails, they will only need to be cooked for about 6 minutes per side. The key to grilling lobster is not to overcook it, or the meat will become tough.

The Importance Of Using A Meat Thermometer!

In order to confirm that your food is cooked all the way through, it’s important to use a meat thermometer. A meat thermometer is a tool that counts the interior temperature of your food. Below are a few reasons why you should use a meat thermometer:

1. This Take The Guesswork Out Of Cooking.

When you’re grilling, there are a lot of variables that can affect the cooking time, such as the size and thickness of the meat, the type of grill you’re using, the weather, and more.

A meat thermometer brings all the guesswork out of grilling by giving you an accurate internal temperature of the meat.

2. It Helps You Avoid Undercooking Or Overcooking Your Food.

Undercooked food can cause food poisoning, while overcooked food can be dry and tough. A meat thermometer ensures that your food is cooked to the proper temperature, so you can avoid undercooking or overcooking it.

3. It’s The Only Way To Know For Sure If Your Food Is Cooked All The Way Through.

There’s no way to tell if meat is cooked all the way through just by looking at it. The best way to know for ensuring is to use a meat thermometer.

It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to food safety. There’s no need to take the risk food poisoning when you can easily avoid it by using a meat thermometer.

4. It Helps You Cook Food More Evenly.

When you’re grilling, it’s common for some parts of the meat to be more cooked than others. This can happen if you grill thick cuts of meat or if you have hot spots on your grill.

A meat thermometer helps you cook food more evenly by giving you an accurate internal temperature of the meat. On the other hand, if you don’t use a meat thermometer, you run the risk of undercooking or overcooking parts of the meat.

5. It’s Quick And Easy To Use.

Using a meat thermometer is quick and easy. Simply insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, and wait a few seconds for it to provide you an accurate reading. Some meat thermometers even have a timer so you can set it and forget it. So there is no doubt to use one!

6. It’s Inexpensive.

Meat thermometers are relatively inexpensive, and they’re a worthwhile investment if you want to make sure your food is cooked properly.

You don’t need to spend a lot of money on a meat thermometer, but it is worth getting one that is accurate and easy to use.

7. It’s Fun!

Using a meat thermometer is a great way to get more involved in the grilling process. Not just will you be capable to impress your friends and family with your grill skills, but you’ll also have a lot of fun doing it! Besides, who doesn’t love playing with fire?

How To Avoid Overcooking Your Food?

Overcooking food is a common mistake that people make when grilling. It’s important to avoid overcooking your food, as it can make the meat dry and tough. Let’s take a view at how you can avoid overcooking your food:

1. Use A Meat Thermometer.

Using a meat thermometer is the most acceptable way to keep from overcooking your food. A meat thermometer will give you an accurate internal temperature of the meat, so you’ll know when it’s done.

2. Don’t Rely On Cooking Times.

Cooking times are only estimates, and they can vary depending on the size and thickness of the meat, the type of grill you’re using, the weather, and more.

Instead of relying on cooking times, use a meat thermometer to tell when the meat is cooked through.

3. Check The Internal Temperature Of The Meat Regularly.

If you’re not using a meat thermometer, it’s vital to check the internal temperature of the meat regularly. This will help you avoid overcooking it.

When checking the internal temperature, make sure to insert the thermometer into the meat’s thickest part.

4. Remove The Meat From The Grill When It Reaches Its Ideal Temperature.

Once the meat has reached its ideal temperature, remove it from the grill immediately. So, if you leave it on the grill for too long, it will continue to cook and become overcooked.

5. Let The Meat Rest Before Cutting Into It.

Once you’ve removed the meat from the grill, let it rest for a few minutes before cutting into it. This’ll allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, making it more tender and flavorful.

What To Do If Your Food Is Undercooked Or Overcooked?

Sometimes, despite the best efforts, food can end up being undercooked or overcooked. If this happens, don’t panic! There’re a few things you can do to save your food.

If Your Food Is Undercooked:

1. Put It Back On The Grill.

If your food is undercooked, simply put it back on the grill and cook it until it reaches the proper internal temperature.

2. Cover It With Foil.

If you’re in a hurry, you will cover the undercooked food with foil and finish cooking it indirectly. This’ll help to prevent the outside from overcooking while the inside finishes cooking.

3. Cut Into It To Check Doneness.

If you do not ensure if the meat is cooked through, you can always cut into it to check. Keep in mind that this will cause some of the juices to run out, so the meat may be slightly less tender and juicy.

If Your Food Is Overcooked:

1. Slice Thin Pieces Off The Meat.

If the meat is overcooked, you can slice off the overcooked portions and discard them. This will help to salvage some of the meat.

2. Use A Sauce Or Marinade.

If the meat is dry or tough, try using a sauce or marinade to moisten it up. This won’t fix the problem totally, but it may make the meat more palatable.

3. Add Moisture To The Grill.

If your grill is dry, adding moisture to it can help to prevent overcooking. Try adding water or beer to the coals or wood chips before grilling. Whichever method you choose, just be sure not to overcook your food!


So, how long should you cook food on the grill? The answer is it depends. Factors such as the type of food, thickness, and heat all play into how long your grilled masterpiece will take to cook.

But with a little know-how and GrillCharms by your side, you’ll be cooking like a pro in no time!

John Rinder
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