How to Grill on a Sear Burner

By A.J. Andrews

Sear burners don't have as much power as the full-sized grills they're attached to, but they get just as hot. You can cook with them three ways: searing food before transferring it to the moderately hot main grill; sauteing food in a saute pan; or operating the burner on low and holding food warm until you serve it. During use, you have to keep the main grill burner closest to the sear burner set on low to prevent overcooking.


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Cooking on a Sear Burner


Step 1

Lift the sear-burner cover. Heat the main grill for 15 minutes, and turn the burner closest to the sear burner to the low setting. Ignite the sear burner and set its temperature to high.


Step 2

Heat the sear burner for 10 minutes on a calm day and 15 minutes on a windy day. Coat the food with a thin layer of vegetable oil; set it on the cooking grid.


Step 3

Sear the food on each side. Seafood and vegetables need about 1 minute on each side. Chicken, burgers and meats under 1 inch thick need about 1 1/2 minutes on each side; meats over 1 inch thick need 2 to 2 1/2 minutes on each side.


Step 4

Transfer the food to the main grill to finish cooking, or lower the heat on the sear burner to low.


Step 5

Turn vegetables over frequently until they cook through; cook seafood and meat until they reach the desired internal temperature, turning them every couple of minutes. Seafood, pork and beef must reach 145 degrees Fahrenheit; hamburgers and chicken, 165 F.



Step 6

Heat the sear burner on high for 10 to 15 minutes. Pour a few tablespoons of oil in a saute pan with a metal or heat-proof handle, and set it on the sear burner.


Step 7

Heat the oil for about 5 to 8 minutes -- 5 minutes on a calm day and 8 minutes on a breezy day.


Step 8

Add the food to the saute pan. Saute it until cooked through, turning frequently. A few possibilities include onions, peppers and mushrooms for steaks and burgers. If you want to warm hamburger buns, set the sear burner to low and heat the buns until toasty.

Resting and Warming


Step 9

Set the sear burner to low. Cook the meat on the grill until it reaches 10 degrees below its desired final temperature. For example, if you want your steak medium, cook it to 125 F instead of 135 F.


Step 10

Wrap the steak loosely with three or four layers of foil. Set a heavy-bottomed saute pan on the sear burner.


Step 11

Place the steak in the pan to hold warm until you're ready to serve it. Limit the time the steak sits on the sear burner to 20 minutes because it still receives a little heat from the grill. Make sure it reaches the correct temperature before you remove it.