The No-Brainer Grilling Hack For Achieving The Highest Heat Possible

Just like when you're baking something in the oven, when you're grilling, the level of heat you want depends on what you're trying to do. Some proteins require you to cook them low and slow, being patient as the flavor develops and the meat becomes incredibly tender. Others do best with a burst of high heat to get a strong sear on the outside without overcooking the interior.

If you've struggled to get your grill hot enough to deliver on dishes requiring the latter, there's a great grilling hack you'll want to try. And it doesn't require any specialized equipment, so any home cook can give it a shot. In fact, the hack is a way to create a particular grilling tool, a charcoal chimney starter, using items you likely have around your home. (If you're not familiar, a charcoal chimney starter allows you to amp up the heat on your grill much faster, as The Kitchn explains.)

As Serious Eats says, the hack is great for items such as tuna steaks, where you want a sear but a relatively rare interior. It's also a good tip for when you're cooking cuts of meat that are relatively thin, such as pork chops, which can go from perfect to overcooked within the blink of an eye.

How to perfect high-heat grilling

For this hack, you'll need a tin can, some newspaper, and a few coals. Then, as Serious Eats outlines, you'll want to remove the top and bottom of the can to create what's essentially a chimney structure. You may want to consider the size of the item you're looking to cook on high heat and look for a larger can if possible so that all of your item will be over the heated area.

You'll then punch a few holes in the lower portion to improve air circulation and then fill the DIY "chimney" with crumpled newspaper and coal atop that. A charcoal chimney starter is usually used to, well, start a charcoal grill more efficiently. But if you place a grill atop the chimney, it'll give you a small-scale grill with serious high heat — perfect for those items that require a quick sear on high heat and little cook time for the interior.

One thing to note for this hack is that it requires you to be using a charcoal grill. However, if you have a gas grill, don't worry. While they don't offer the same concentrated burst of high heat as a DIY charcoal chimney, there are a few tips for boosting the temperature on a gas grill as well. As University Grill reports, you might consider adding grill bricks or lava rocks, which both conduct and radiate heat.