How to Control and Prevent Gas Grill Flare-ups?

Jim Bob – A long-time contributor to GrillBabyGrill. Jim has had a lifelong relationship with the art of grilling, passed on from his father and grandfather to him.
burger patty

Gas grills provide plenty of outdoor cooking benefits, including instant ignition, quick preheating, high temperatures, and versatility. Anything can taste good when cooked properly on a gas grill, and they’re stylish to boot. But even the best products come with a few challenges, and learning how to manage a gas grill and prevent flare ups can seem intimidating if you’re new to this type of grilling. 

Understanding what techniques and tricks you can use to avoid flare ups in the first place or control them if they do occur can make you feel confident and safe when grilling at home.

1. How Do Gas Grills Work?

The fuel source for a gas grill is natural gas or propane, which leads to even heating and hot temperatures. Many expert grillers prefer gas over other fuel sources like wood or charcoal. Gas grills are easy to maintain by replacing refillable gas or propane tanks as necessary, and they’re quick to clean up after each use. 

Gas grills are more complex in their design than other types of grills, such as charcoal. The parts of a gas grill generally include:

  • Grill body
  • Cooking surface
  • Fuel source
  • Valve regulators
  • Grill hood
  • Burners
  • Starter/ignition
  • Hoses

Parallel metal bars typically make up the cooking surface that holds your food over the gas burners, which generate high amounts of heat. For a gas grill to ignite properly, it requires gas, oxygen, and a spark of electricity, usually from the starter. Most gas grills have two main burners, each featuring its own regulator. The gas supply from the propane tank or natural gas line mixes with oxygen inside the burner to generate heat. 

Several different gas grills are available on the market, each offering a unique aesthetic and special features. Choose from rotisserie grills, multi-tier grills, or grills with side burners. In addition to traditional freestanding grills, you can also purchase built-in gas grills and decide whether you want propane or natural gas

Once you’ve decided a gas grill is right for you, it’s necessary to learn how to control and prevent gas grill flare ups.

Read moreHigh quality propane grills.

2. Tips For Avoiding Gas Grill Flare Ups

The safest way to manage flare ups while grilling with gas is to prevent them from occurring. There are a few things to keep in mind to make your grilling experience safer, protecting yourself and those around you. While these aren’t foolproof methods, every safety measure helps create a better cooking experience.

2.1. Minimize Fat

Flare ups are most commonly caused by excess fat. Cutting off as much extra fat as you can before cooking will help reduce the risk of fire. If grease pools while cooking, move your food off to one size and turn up the heat to burn the grease away.

2.2. Don’t Use Too Much Oil or Marinade

As with excess fat, too much oil or marinade dripping off your food can cause a flare up. Make sure your steaks aren’t dripping before you put them on the grill.

2.3. Beware Of Wind

It’s common knowledge that oxygen fuels flames, so you want to keep air out when trying to prevent a fire. Try to place your grill in an area that is out of the wind so that circulating air doesn’t gust through and cause a flare up.

2.4. Keep the Hood Up

If you’re searing foods with high-fat content, it’s best to leave the grill hood lifted. The hood traps heated air inside and can increase the temperature of the grill when closed.

2.5. Clean Your Grill Regularly

Old grease and food residue are perfect fuel for fire, so keeping your grill clean is essential to preventing flare ups. Scrub your grill clean after each use

Taking these few simple steps can help prevent the future scare of an unexpected flare up while you’re grilling, making it a more positive experience for you and your guests.

3. Methods for Controlling Flare Ups

steaks on fire

No matter how careful you are, preventative measures are not a guarantee that flare ups will never occur. Knowing how to control them when they happen is an essential aspect of safety when working with a gas grill.

3.1. Move Food Away From The Flames

Avoid overcrowding on the grill so that if you do experience a flare up, you’ll be able to move food out of the way to prevent fueling the fire with extra fat or oils.

3.2. Turn Your Burners Off

If you can’t get the flames under control quickly, a failsafe option is to simply turn your burners off and cut off the fuel source.

3.3. Avoid Using Water

A natural reaction to seeing an unwanted flame is to douse it in water to put it out. However, adding water to a grease fire is extremely dangerous and should be avoided. Oil and water do not mix, and hot oil can explode if water is poured onto it.

4. Gas Grill Safety and Benefits

Learning how to control and prevent gas grill flare ups is an essential part of safely cooking on a gas grill. Gas grills are popular and pleasant to cook with, but it’s critical to understand the risk associated with owning and using one. Gas grills can cause residential fires or explosions if the tank gets too hot or if gas builds up around the grill. 

Industry-approved gas grills are safe when used properly, so be sure to follow the directions provided with your grill and understand all its functions before getting started. If your grill doesn’t start after hitting the ignition switch, it’s vital that you don’t keep attempting it. Give it a few minutes before trying again to avoid an excessive amount of gas coming out before being hit by the spark.

Once you understand how to safely use a gas grill, you can enjoy the many benefits they offer, including quick preheat times and even heat distribution. They’re quicker to cook your food so that you can spend more time with friends and family and less time hovering over the grill. Gas grills also provide more control over your cooking temperatures, so you can get precise results, making them a fantastic choice for novice and experienced grillers. 

You’ll also be happy to know that you’re benefiting the environment and your lung health when you choose to cook with gas rather than burning charcoal. Gas grills are one of the best options on the market for outdoor barbeques, and once you get comfortable using one, you’ll never want to go back to a charcoal kettle grill.