Knowing when to put the food on the BBQ and when to wait or turn down the heat makes all the difference between a perfectly cooked burger and the under-cooked hockey puck kind. Here's a quick test to get the timing right.
Photo by Instant Vantage
Per Goodhousekeeping Test Kitchen and their grill-meister friends, all you need to do is hold your palm 10 centimetres above the grate and start counting. The number of seconds it takes before you feel the need to move your hand away will indicate what level of heat your BBQ is at:
As you hold it there, count how many seconds (one one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand…) it takes before you feel the need to move your hand away. Then, use the time to decode the cooking heat:
2 seconds = high heat
3 to 4 seconds = medium-high heat
5 to 6 seconds = medium heat
7 to 8 seconds = medium-low heat
Indefinitely = low heat
This can come in handy when you're grilling delicate proteins or vegetables and need a lower heat or starting your cowboy steaks low and then finishing over high heat. If your heat sensitivity is non-existent or unusually high, however, perhaps stick to creating multiple grilling zones.