The Grill Mistake That Makes Cook Time Much Longer

For many people, grilling is as much a pastime as it is a way to prepare delicious and nourishing food. From choosing the perfect cut of meat, to seasoning the food, to causing delicious smells to waft through the neighborhood as your food cooks; grilling is just plain fun. That's why a lot of people like to open the grill a lot to tend to their food — flipping it, checking it, and adding additional sauces and seasonings. However, cooking on the grill is different than cooking on the stovetop or a griddle. The grill mistake you might be making is constantly opening and closing your grill's lid. When you're using a gas grill, this mistake can greatly slow the cooking process because it continually releases heat, lowering the temperature inside the grill, and ultimately increasing your cooking time. 


It's so tempting to keep opening the lid. Especially as your food nears the end of its grilling time, you just want it to be done and ready to eat. However, the more you open the grill to see if the food is done, the more you risk a longer wait.

How often should you open the grill lid?

According to grill company Weber, the lid should remain closed to keep the heat circulation within the grill consistent. By only opening the lid when you need to, you can maximize the benefit of even heat circulation.


Of course, how often you open the lid depends on what you're cooking and how long you need to cook it for. The amount of time it takes to grill food varies widely based on a variety of factors, including what you're grilling, the temperature you're cooking at, and the type of grill you're using. For example, Gordon Ramsay's burgers take about 10 minutes to grill while grilled summer vegetables can take 40 minutes or more. When cooking burgers or steaks, you will probably need to open the lid a few times to flip your food and check doneness. If you're cooking vegetables for a longer period of time, you might not have to open the lid much at all.

What happens if you keep opening the lid on a charcoal grill?

However, the story is a bit different if you're cooking using a charcoal grill. Opening the lid over and over again in this case can actually cause your food to burn. This is because the coals need oxygen to burn, and when you keep opening the lid, you're introducing more and more oxygen into the environment of the grill. This can cause your coals to get too hot, which can burn your food. If you're cooking on a charcoal grill and you need to regulate or adjust the temperature, take advantage of the air vents. This will help the temperature stay more consistent.


The fix for long grilling times, whether you're using a gas or charcoal grill — is just patience. The more you can resist repeatedly opening the grill, the more consistent the internal temperature of your grill will be, likely resulting in a better final product. Of course, you will need to check and tend to your food periodically, but try to limit the number of times you need to do this. So, the next time you're grilling, grab a drink, play some of your favorite music, and just sit back and relax while your food cooks.