The Difference Between Grate and Dome Temperature on the Weber Kettle
The dome and grate temperature of your Weber kettle are both significant factors in cooking. Depending on what you’re making, one is more important than the other.
However, both have their benefits and drawbacks. Here’s a look at how each affects your food, and which might be best for different types of meals.
What is the dome temperature on a Weber Kettle?
The dome temperature is the temperature of the lid of the kettle grill. Since the lid is what regulates the flow of oxygen and smoke, it’s a critical factor in the cooking process. The hotter the dome, the more oxygen that flows into the grill, and the faster the food will cook.
The dome temperature is measured in Fahrenheit, with the standard being about 350 for foods like chicken, steak, and ribs. The hotter the grill, the less time it takes to cook those foods. In general, the higher the dome temperature, the shorter the amount of time it takes food to cook.
What is the grate temperature on a Weber Kettle?
The grate temperature is what’s referred to as the cooking grate when you put food on it. The grate temperature is measured in centigrade, and can be adjusted with the top and bottom vents.
The grate temperature is different than the dome temperature, as it relates to the actual grate of the kettle grill. This is the surface where you put the food while it cooks.
The higher the grate temperature, the higher the heat on the actual grate. In general, the higher the grate temperature, the shorter the amount of time it takes food to cook. In most cases, the higher the grate temperature, the more intense the flavor of the food.
How to change your kettle’s grate and dome temperatures
The grate and dome temperatures can both be adjusted with the bottom and top air vents. The vents are located on the side of the kettle.
To change the temperature, all you need to do is close or open the vents. For the grate temperature, you’ll want to close or open the bottom vent.
For a lower temperature, close the vent more; vice-versa for a higher temperature. For the dome temperature, close or open the top air vent to lower or increase the temperature.
Which should you use for which foods?
The following table outlines the best uses for each type of temperature on your grill. For meats like chicken, steak, and ribs, the dome temperature should be around 350-375.
When grilling vegetables, the dome temperature should be around 225-250. For less intense flavors, lower the grate temperature and bottom air vent. For more intense flavors, increase the grate temperature and/or open the bottom air vent.
Remember these both need to be at least partially open for sufficient oxygen flow.
Why does the grate temperature matter in BBQ?
The grate temperature is the temperature at which the actual grate (the cooking surface) of the kettle grill is heated to. The higher the temperature of the cooking grate, the more intense the flavor of the food will be. In BBQ, it’s not necessarily about the speed at which the food cooks, but the intensity of the flavor.
When you lower the grate temperature, the food cooks at a lower temperature, which means it takes longer to cook.
While this may seem like a negative, it has a positive effect on the taste of the food. The lower temperature allows the fat and juices to slowly drip down into the drip tray. This creates a rich, flavorful sauce that you can use as a side dish or even to put on top of the food once it’s completed cooking.
Why does the dome temperature matter in BBQ?
When you’re smoking meats like pork shoulder and brisket, you want a low dome temperature. This low dome temperature allows the meat to cook slowly, at a low temperature, which makes the meat incredibly tender and full of flavor.
If you raise the dome temperature, you’ll speed up the flow of oxygen, which will make the meat cook at a faster rate. While this can be helpful for some meats, it can cause the meat to dry out if you’re using a method like smoking, which requires a long amount of time.
The key to a good meal is using the best equipment and following a few tips. The key to good BBQ and grilling is controlling the temperature.
With the above information, you can easily change the temperature settings on your kettle and grill.
Next time you fire up the grill, remember that a higher dome temperature will cook the food quicker and a lower grate temperature will make the food taste even better.