How Long to Preheat Gas Grill for Steak, Burgers, and Other

starting gas grill

Why should you preheat a gas grill? Why not first throw the food onto the grates and then fire it up? Isn’t preheating just a waste of gas and time?

There are but just a few of many questions regarding preheating one’s grill.

Should you? Absolutely.

Is it a waste of gas and time? No.

Just like an oven and cookware, you should preheat your grill; not only gas but also other types.

In this grilling guide, I’ll answer these questions above in detail and others regarding this topic:

Most of the rules here apply to other grill types as well.

So if you have a charcoal, infrared, or electric grill, then don’t leave and continue reading.

You don’t have a gas grill yet? Then take a look at these high-quality models. If you are limited by your budget, then check out these budget-friendly ones.

How Long Does It Take to Preheat a Grill?

Depending on the desired temperature and ambient conditions (outside temperature, humidity, and windiness), you need the preheat your grill anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes or more.

15 minutes is usually more than enough for “regular” cooking, i.e. cooking on medium to high heat.

How Long to Preheat Grill for Burgers and Chicken?

grilling burgers on gas grill

8 – 10 minutes on medium heat.

Chicken and burgers don’t need high heat to cook – the best grilling temperature is medium. Therefore, you need less time to preheat your grill.

How Long to Preheat Grill for Steak?

searing steak on gas grill

20 – 40 minutes on high heat.

Steaks need to be cooked quickly at very high temperatures.

The recommended temperature for searing steaks is between 500°F to 800°F (260°C to 426°C).

The higher the temperature, the longer you need to preheat the grill.

How Do You Preheat a Gas Grill?

  1. Open the grill’s lid and then turn the temperature knob
    • One burner is enough to preheat the grill. Technically, you don’t have to light the whole set
  2. Light the burners by pushing the ignition button
    • If the ignition button fails to start after multiple attempts, use a lighter
  3. Set the temperature setting to high
  4. Close the lid
  5. Leave the grill alone until it reaches the desired temperature
  6. Open the hood of the grill to begin cooking. Adjust the temperature accordingly

This is the correct procedure for preheating a gas grill and it will make sure that your grill is set up properly to avoid the issues mentioned later in the text.


When you are using matches to light the grill, you should use the supplied match holder.

grill match hook

If you don’t have one (either the manufacturer didn’t supply it, you lost it, or it got damaged in the past) use the longest matches you can find to make sure that you are as far away as possible from the burners.

When using the ignition button to start the grill, you should take a break after several attempts to prevent the accumulation of gas which can turn into an explosion.

Tips on Preheating a Gas Grill

How Do I Know if My Grill Is Hot Enough?

Most gas grills have a thermometer built-in to the lid. If you don’t have one, you can use your hands to determine the temperature.

gas grill hand temperature test

The hand test is not highly accurate, but it’s better than nothing.

Pull up the sleeve and place the hand about 5 inches above the grate.

How long can you hold it tells you the temperature:

  • 2 – 3 seconds for high
  • 4 – 6 seconds for medium
  • 7 – 9 seconds for low

It’s not an exact science. Some people are more resistant to heat, while others are not.

What Temperature Should I Preheat My Grill?

gas grill lid thermometer

This depends on what and how you’re cooking.

For direct grilling, the recommended temperature is about 500°F / 260°C. When grilling indirect, preheat the grill to about 350°F / 176°C.

In most cases, preheat it to about 500°F / 260°C. Even if it’s a bit hot for your preferences, just leave the lid open for a few seconds for the heat to dissipate.

Why Do You Preheat the Grill?

Preheating your grill before cooking is an important aspect of grilling that some people tend to overlook.

Those who skip this process end up regretting this decision later on as the food is not as tasty as it should be.

but this will be the least of their problems. Read below and you’ll understand why.

The Importance of Preheating Your Gas Grill

If you don’t want to spoil your meals, then you should preheat your grill before cooking.

Preheating has an important role. The reasons for doing so are:

1. Killing Germs


This is one of the several main reasons why you need to do it before you start cooking.

Germs land on the grill when it is in storage and preheating kills them off.

Food particles from the previous cookout will also attract germs and bacteria and when you cook your foods without preheating it, these germs make their way to your food.

How Long Does It Take to Sterilize a Grill?

No longer than preheating.

Any germs, bacteria, viruses, and other harmful beings incinerate during these 15 minutes of preheating.

You don’t need to increase the preheating time because of this.

2. To Remove the Food Particles From the Grates and Tents

Another great reason: you also need to preheat the grill to remove the food particles from the previous cookout.

The food residues carry all sorts of germs and debris and preheating the grill will get rid of all of this hazardous residue.

3. To Prevent Food From Sticking to the Grates

Food will stick to the grates when you begin cooking without preheating the grill.

Meat sticks on the cool grates and when the grill heats up, it really sticks.

stuck food on grill grates
*insert horror music here*

Turning the food to cook the other side will, therefore, be difficult and you will leave a section of the meat on the grates as you forcefully pull it away.

4. Faster Cooking

When you preheat the grill, you greatly reduce the cooking time.

A grill that has not been preheated will have to get warm to able to cook your meals and this process is even longer when there’s cold food inside the grill.

Preheating a Gas Grill Is a Simple and Fast Procedure

Now you know how long to preheat a gas grill and the importance of doing so.

How long do you preheat your grill?

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About Mario 148 Articles
I am the owner of Kitchen Guru Ideas. I've set up this site so I can share my kitchen tips and hacks that have been passed on to me from my parents and grandparents and show you how a wonderful experience cooking is and not just a way to save money. Even in this hectic lifestyle, there is time to prepare and most important enjoy a home-cooked meal.

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