Written by Leonie

How do I use the vents on the barbecue?

Your barbecue looks very professional with those stainless steel vents on the top and bottom. I'll tell you exactly what to do with those vents when grilling. Learn these 4 different vent settings and you'll be just as professional at grilling as your barbecue looks.

What affects the temperature in the BBQ?

If you know a little bit about grilling, you know that certain dishes require more heat than others to cook. The temperature is determined by, for instance, the number or briquettes or coals in the barbecue, wind that affects the barbecue, and/or the temperature outside. The vents also play a role. We'll give you some tips on how to use the vents. It's the most accurate way to control the temperature in the barbecue.

6 steps before touching the vents

Vents
  1. You have a BBQ with a lid that makes a good sea,l so no heat can escape.
  2. The barbecue is standing in a place where it's protected from the wind.
  3. Enough charcoal or briquettes are burning in the barbecue.
  4. You leave the lid closed as much as possible so no heat can escape.
  5. You wear fire-resistant gloves when manipulating the vents.
  6. Be aware of the setting of the BBQ's bottom vent. Note: you can't see the slider when the BBQ is filled with briquettes.

Options 1 and 2

Bottom vent and top vent open

Option 1. Bottom vent and top vent open

This option allows a lot of oxygen into the BBQ. The lower vent is open and draws in as much oxygen as possible and feeds it to the fire. The top vent is open and vents the burned hot gases so they aren't absorbed by the meat. This is the perfect situation for:

  • Lighting your barbecue
  • Reaching high temperatures for direct grilling (175+ degrees).
The bottom vent half open, top vent open

Option 2. Bottom vent half open, top vent open

This draws in less oxygen through the barbecue than when you open the bottom vent all the way. This way is suitable when you don't want to grill at very high temperatures. For instance for indirect grilling. This is the perfect situation for:

  • Reaching the right temperatures for indirect grilling (120 to 175 degrees).

Options 3 and 4

Bottom vent open, top vent half open

Option 3. Bottom vent open, top vent half open

Smoking a dish is done by drawing in as much oxygen as possible and not venting a lot of smoke. The venting is limited because the top vent is only half open. Do make sure that the top vent is right above the dishes. This way, you reach relatively low temperatures, get a lot of smoke in the barbecue, and lead the smoke past the dishes. This is the perfect situation for:

  • Smoking dishes at 100 to 150 degrees
Bottom vent and top vent closed

Option 4. Bottom vent and top vent closed

If you close the vents all the way, no oxygen will enter the barbecue. The charcoal or briquettes will stop burning. You only use this option if you want to extinguish the barbecue. Note: a BBQ won't extinguish right away when you close the vents. This can take up to several hours.

Conclusion

Using the 4 vent settings above will get you a long way when it comes to regulating the temperature in your barbecue. Do note that every barbecue is different. The way in which you adjust the vents and the amount of oxygen that passes through the barbecue is different for each one. These are mostly guidelines. You have to get a feel for how to control your vents. Practice makes perfect, so get grilling every sunny day.


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