The One Simple Way to Identify Hot Spots on Your Grill
You’ll need some slices of bread.
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Let’s talk about hot spots. Throw a big batch of burgers or chicken or veggies on your gas grill, and you might notice that some pieces cook faster than others. Weird. You carefully shaped/pounded/chopped them into even sizes, of course. Don’t worry, you’re not imagining things. Your grill has areas that are hotter than rest (every gas grill has them), and these are called hot spots.
While hot spots may seem pesky (darn overcooked burgers), if you learn their pattern, you can put them to work and create heat zones. Start your steak on the hot spot to quickly char the outside, then move it over to finish cooking to your desired doneness.
Here's an easy way to figure out the hot spot pattern. According to chef Megan Mitchell, all you need is a loaf of bread. "You can get a loaf of inexpensive bread and turn on your grates and line the entire top portion with bread to see where the hot spots are," she said during her live class, Grilled Veggie Pitas with Chickpeas and Tahini Sauce on the Food Network Kitchen app. "That way you won’t waste your beautiful veggies or chicken or whatever you’re making."
Let us break down this process step-by-step.
- Cover your grill grates entirely with sliced bread in a single layer. White bread, brown bread — whatever you have on hand works (as long as it’s not something super dark like pumpernickel).
- Grill the bread for one minute.
- Turn off the grill.
- Flip over the slices of bread, keeping each on the same spot you grilled it.
- Observe the grill marks on each. Some slices will have much darker grill marks than others, revealing where the grill’s hot spots are. Snap a picture of the pattern to help you remember it.
Wondering what you’d do with all that grilled bread? Whatever you do, don’t toss it. Stash it in a resealable plastic bag and use it to make sandwiches, croutons and breadcrumbs galore.