Bursts of flames or flare-ups can be alarming but there are easy steps to prevent or reduce their occurrence. Below we have outlined the most common causes of flare-ups and the steps you can take to prevent or reduce the chances one occurring.
THE GRILL IS TOO COLD BEFORE YOU START GRILLING
You should always pre-heat your grill for 10 to 15 minutes to make sure that the briquettes are warmed up.
COOKING GRIDS MAY BE HEAVILY COATED WITH BURNED ON GREASE
A lot of flare-ups occur when there is grease build-up on the bottom of the cooking grids. The best way to prevent this is to clean your cooking grids regularly.
- When the grill is hot, use a brass bristle brush to remove food and grease residue.
- Or remove the cooking grids and wash them in a solution of warm water and mild dish soap. When done, rinse with clean water and let dry.
For more information read our article on Cleaning the Interior of Your Grill
BRIQUETTES MAY BE HEAVILY COATED WITH BURNED ON GREASE
The porcelain briquettes are designed to be self-cleaning. If you notice that your briquettes have turned black this is a good sign that they are coated with burned-on grease. Simply flip the briquettes. Over time the black, or greasy side will self-clean.
YOU ARE GRILLING FATTY FOODS
There are a couple of things you can do to prevent flare-ups due to grilling fatty foods
- Trim excess fat from fatty meats without sacrificing flavor
- When you flip your meats move them around on the grill so the fat is not dripping in the same space.
- Make sure your grill interior is clean before you start grilling. For more information read our article on Cleaning the Interior of Your Grill
HEAT SETTING IS TOO HIGH
- Lower the heat setting.
- If you are searing fatty meats you can do this with the lid open.
BRIQUETTES ARE LAID OUT IMPROPERLY ALLOWING GREASE TO HIT THE FLAME
The porcelain briquettes should be placed on the grate using only one layer in the pattern outlined in the video below. This will reduce the chance of grease dripping and falling directly on the flames causing a flare-up.
What to do if you are experiencing a flare-up
- Turn off the burners using the knobs. (use a towel, oven mitt or tongs if the knobs are too hot to touch)
- Once the gas is off, smother the fire with baking soda, salt or even sand if that’s all you have.
- Close the lid and vents to cut off the oxygen.
- If the flare-up continues, use a fire extinguisher.
If you don’t have an extinguisher and the fire is so large or your gas tank is burning, GET OUT OF THE AREA IMMEDIATELY AND CALL 911!
NEVER THROW WATER ON A GREASE FIRE! The burning fat floats and will quickly spread everywhere.