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What Does BTU Mean For Gas Grills?

What Does BTU Mean For Gas Grills?

One thing that you might have seen from your grill is the acronym BTU, but what does this actually mean? Well, put simply, BTU stands for British Thermal Unit and is the measure of how much heat your grill can produce.

But this still doesn’t help you to fully understand what your gas grill is really capable of, which is really not helpful as a lot of articles that you’ll read about gas grills really emphasize the importance of BTU when you are buying your gas grill.

So what does BTU mean when you are buying a gas grill? What should be the ideal BTU level for your gas grill?

How does BTU affect the performance of your grill? Well, if you want all of your queries about BTU answered, then we would suggest that you keep reading.

What Do BTU Numbers Really Mean?

BTU ratings are not exactly what they depict themselves to be. The BTU will indicate the highest level of heat that your burner can put out during the space of an hour.

However, this only really takes into consideration the gas coming from the main burners as opposed to any other supplementary grill.

If you are looking at the BTU level of your total grill, then it might actually state a higher BTU count than it is actually capable of.

This is because some manufacturers include smokers and side grills as part of the total BTU of your grill.

You also need to factor in the total cooking surface of your pan. The heat of your pan will be largely concentrated in the center, which means that the outer edges of your grill will actually be a lot cooler.

So even if you crank up your burner to the maximum level, then you might not experience the same amount of heat across the whole surface of your grill, leading some parts of your pancake or omelet to become undercooked.

What Is The Ideal BTU For A Grill?

If you want to get a more realistic idea of your BTU, then you’ll have to calculate the BTU by dividing it by the total square footage on your grill’s surface.

For example, if you have a few burners that total 50,000 BTUs across a surface area of 300 square feet, then your equation should look something like this:

50,000/300 = 166.67 BTUs per square inch.

This is a pretty hefty amount of BTUs. You’ll want to aim for a figure that goes above 100 BTUs per square inch, as anything below really will not give you sufficient power to heat any type of meat or vegetable.

Why Should I Have A Decent BTU For My BBQ?

Why Should I Have A Decent BTU For My BBQ

You might think that simply having a grill with a larger BTU will be beneficial for your cooking needs, but this is not always the case. The higher the BTU of your grill, then the more gas that you’ll have to expend.

Ideally, what you’ll be looking for is a gas griller with many different grills that can be controlled individually. If you have a griller with one big grill that cannot be controlled individually, then you’ll be looking at using up a lot of gas.

Only restaurants and large-scale grilling events will really require a large BTU number. This is only really good for cooking large amounts of food very quickly and efficiently.

You’ll need to make sure that your grill has the right level of BTUs for the type of grilling job that you want. If you are going to be cooking for your family of four, then having a modest BTU level will be more than sufficient.

Why Is It Important That My Grill Retains Heat?

Having a grill with a large BTU rating is all well and good, but if your grill does not retain heat, then it will result in something that is not very efficient and you could end up losing far more heat as a result.

You should have something that is well constructed and made from materials like stainless steel, which is often very conductive and will retain a lot more heat.

You should also make sure that you have a tight-fitting lid, as this will stop any heat from transferring into the air, keeping it within the body of the grill itself.

What Is The Best Material For Grilling?

Stainless steel is a great material for grilling, as it is very conductive and will keep heating your grills long after the main heating source has been turned off.

However, if you are looking for something that is very durable and will deliver a great heat transfer to your meats, then cast iron is a great choice of material. This is not only resilient, but it is very easy to clean after you have used it.

How Effective Is An Infrared Grill?

An infrared grill is great, because it heats the food a lot differently, resulting in a faster grill all around.

An infrared grill will use the heat of its burners to heat up the overall chamber, whereas a standard gas grill will use convection and a larger airflow to heat the grill over a longer period of time.

However, just because an infrared grill heats the food faster, does not mean that it is better and cooking the food. Sometimes you’ll want the heat to work over a longer period to ensure a more thorough cook all the way through.

If you are heating small amounts of food for you and your family, then we would recommend having a small gas burner that heats between 80 and 100 BTUs.


We hope that this article has helped clear up some of the misconceptions surrounding BTUs and what the best BTU level for your grill will actually be.

You won’t need to have a massively high BTU level for a home grill, so remember that blasting your food with high-intensity heat isn’t always the most efficient option.

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