Are you tired of your grill constantly going out or not getting hot enough? Nothing ruins a cookout quite like a malfunctioning grill. Fortunately, with a few simple tips and tricks, you can keep your grill lit and ensure your next barbecue is a success. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know to keep your grill burning bright.
Table of Contents
- Understanding Your Grill
- Types of Grills
- Parts of a Grill
- Tips for Keeping Your Grill Lit
- Choose the Right Fuel
- Clean Your Grill
- Adjust the Air Vents
- Check for Leaks
- Use a Chimney Starter
- Troubleshooting Common Problems
- Low Heat
- Uneven Heat
- Flames Too High
- Flames Too Low
Understanding Your Grill
Before we dive into how to keep your grill lit, it’s important to understand the different types of grills and their parts. There are three main types of grills: gas, charcoal, and electric.
Gas grills are fuelled by propane or natural gas and are known for their convenience and quick heating times. Charcoal grills use charcoal briquettes or hardwood charcoal for fuel and are prized for the smoky flavour they impart to food. Electric grills use electricity to heat metal coils or plates and are popular for their ease of use and indoor/outdoor versatility.
Regardless of the type of grill you have, there are a few common parts you should be familiar with. These include the burners (for gas grills), the grates (where you place your food), and the air vents (which control the airflow into the grill).
Tips for Keeping Your Grill Lit
Now that you understand your grill, let’s dive into some tips for keeping it lit and running smoothly.
Choose the Right Fuel
One of the most important factors in keeping your grill lit is choosing the right fuel. For gas grills, make sure you have a full tank of propane or a natural gas line that’s connected and turned on. For charcoal grills, choose high-quality charcoal briquettes or hardwood charcoal. Avoid using lighter fluid or other accelerants, as they can create flare-ups and dangerous situations.
Clean Your Grill
Keeping your grill clean is essential for proper functioning. Before each use, make sure to remove any leftover ash or debris from the previous cookout. Scrub the grates with a wire brush to remove any stuck-on food. For gas grills, check the burners and clean out any clogs or debris.
Adjust the Air Vents
Controlling the airflow into your grill is crucial for keeping it lit. For gas grills, make sure the air vents on the bottom and top of the grill are open. For charcoal grills, adjust the vents to regulate the temperature. Open the vents fully to increase the temperature and close them partially to decrease the temperature.
Check for Leaks
Gas grills can be dangerous if there are leaks in the fuel lines. Before each use, check for leaks by applying a solution of soapy water to the gas lines and connections. If you see any bubbles, that indicates a leak, and you should turn off the gas and have the grill serviced.
Use a Chimney Starter
A chimney starter is a great tool for lighting charcoal quickly and safely. Simply fill the chimney with charcoal, place some crumpled newspaper underneath, and light the newspaper. The chimney will heat the charcoal evenly and without the need for lighter fluid.
Troubleshooting Common Problems
Even with the best preparation, grills can encounter problems. Here are some common issues you may run into and how to troubleshoot them.
If your grill isn’t getting hot enough, there are a few things you can do. First, check that your fuel source is adequate (e.g., a full propane tank or enough charcoal). Next, make sure the air vents are fully open and the grill lid is closed. If you’re still having trouble, clean the burners (for gas grills) or adjust the vents (for charcoal grills).
Uneven heat can be a frustrating problem, but there are ways to fix it. For gas grills, make sure the burners are clean and free of debris. If that doesn’t work, adjust the burners to create different heat zones on the grill. For charcoal grills, arrange the coals in a way that creates different heat zones (e.g., more coals on one side of the grill than the other).
Flames Too High
Flames that are too high can be dangerous and can also burn your food. To reduce the flames, turn down the heat (for gas grills) or close the air vents partially (for charcoal grills). You can also move your food to a cooler part of the grill.
Flames Too Low
If your flames are too low, there may be an issue with your fuel source. Check that your propane tank is full or that you have enough charcoal. You can also try adjusting the air vents (for charcoal grills) or cleaning the burners (for gas grills).
Keeping your grill lit and running smoothly is essential for a successful cookout. By choosing the right fuel, cleaning your grill, adjusting the air vents, checking for leaks, and using a chimney starter, you can ensure your grill stays lit. And if you do encounter problems, troubleshooting them is usually just a matter of cleaning, adjusting, or rearranging the coals or burners. With these tips and tricks, you’ll be grilling like a pro in no time.
Feel free to read our other article if you need help and tips for choosing outdoor grill.
FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions
Now, let’s address some common questions that people have about keeping their grill lit. Here are five frequently asked questions and their answers to help you troubleshoot any possible issues you may encounter.
Can I use lighter fluid to start my charcoal grill?
We recommend avoiding lighter fluid, as it can create dangerous flare-ups and impart a chemical taste to your food. Instead, use a chimney starter for safe and easy lighting.
What should I do if I suspect a gas leak in my grill?
Turn off the gas immediately and have your grill serviced by a professional. Gas leaks can be dangerous and should be taken seriously.
How often should I clean my grill?
We recommend cleaning your grill before each use to ensure it runs smoothly and your food stays safe and tasty.
Can I use the same techniques for keeping a gas grill lit as a charcoal grill?
While some tips may be similar (such as cleaning your grill and checking for leaks), gas and charcoal grills have different requirements and should be treated accordingly.
What’s the best way to arrange charcoal for even heating?
Try arranging the coals in a two-zone fire, with more coals on one side of the grill than the other. This will create a hotter zone and a cooler zone for different cooking needs.