How To Use A Gas Grill: A Beginner’s Guide

A rising number of people have begun to realize the benefits a gas grill offers over a charcoal grill. And compared to a charcoal grill, a gas grill offers several advantages! But for a BBQ beginner who just bought a gas grill and is anxious to use it for the first time, there is no need to worry.

A gas grill is actually pretty easy to use and perfect for novices who are just starting to explore the fantastic world of outdoor cooking. You do not need to be an expert griller to be qualified to use a gas grill.

How To Use A Gas Grill For The First Time

Don’t worry if it’s the first time lighting your new gas grill! We will take you through the process of using your new grill grill. First, it is imperative to take some time to go through the manual before using it.

Even if it is boring and you rather start grilling right away. Reading the manual will help you understand all the features your new grill offers.

Gas grills are pretty different from your regular charcoal grill. And just because you already gathered experience using your previous gas grill doesn’t mean that you will be do just as well with your new one. Especially if you got yourself a more advanced one offering more features.

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Make sure to follow all the instructions given in the manual. Especially the ones regarding safety!

If you just got your gas grill, prepare to use it by placing it on level ground. There is more to choosing an appropriate place for your grill than you might think. When grilling outdoors, you should keep the grill about 10 feet away from the house. If you are barbecuing on your deck remember to ensure the grill is not too close to your deck railings.

Also, you should keep your grill outside. A lot of people believe that grilling in the house is okay. It can be, however chances are high that by having your gas grill inside you could ignite a fire. Operating a gas source inside your house is not the best of ideas.

So, once you have placed the gas grill on a level place, it is time to set up your propane tank. Before connecting the tank however, check the gas line and make sure that there are no leaks or any other signs of impairment. If you notice any issues, fix them immediately because they can cause severe damage. Once you have checked everything, make sure the control valve on the tank is tightened firmly.

Put the propane tank on the stand of your gas grill. The valve opening should face in the direction of the grill arrangement. Refer to the instruction manual regarding the type of valve connection you have. There is just too many types of valve connectors.

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The manual that comes with your grill will give you the best information on the type of valve connection for your propane tank.

Once you are done attaching the propane tank, it’s time to examine the whole system for potential gas leaks. You can do a visual inspection, but the safest way is to use a leak detection device.

You can buy this gadget at an appliance store. But you can also make one at home by mixing an equal amount of dishwashing liquid and warm water. You then spread the mixture on there and slowly open the valve. If no bubbles appear, then you are in the clear.

If not, don’t take a risk and use the grill. Even if the bubbles are only a few or small ones. Just close the valve again and don’t light your grill until you have found the reason for the leak and fixed it.

Once are sure that the whole system is working fine and that there are no gas leaks, you can ignite the grill. Open the valve on the gas tank and press the ignition switch/button. It works just like a lighter you would use to light a cigarette. The gas is being ignited by a spark or small electric charge.

Some grills however don’t have a built-in ignition ‘system’. If that is the case with your grill, you can get one at a hardware store or you can just use a long match or stick lighter to fire up the grill. Just do it immediately after turning on the gas flow. Letting gas build up in the grill is dangerous.

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How Do You Cook On A Propane Grill?

Cooking with a propane grill is actually pretty easy. For setting up everything, follow the instructions in the grill’s manual. And after safely hooking up the propane tank to your gas grill, you light it.

Preheat the gas grill for about 10 – 15 minutes before cooking. And clean the grate with a brush to get rid of any dried food leftovers or fat from previous cookouts.

Once you’re done preheating and cleaning the grill, set the heat to a lower setting prior to placing food on it to avoid burning or overcooking.

When cooking small amounts of food, turn off the heat for the parts of the grill that you will not be using to save gas (provided your grill has multiple areas/burners). And when using the entire rack, you can create multiple heat zones by setting the burners to different heat levels.

This is useful if food has different cooking times, so you could have one hot zone and one ‘colder’ zone, for example. That will keep the food that’s ready warm while you wait for the rest to be finished cooking.

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Once the grill reached the desired temperature, put the food directly over the flames. Food items such as vegetables that require less heat should be placed on the side of the grill with a lower setting. You should place foods requiring more heat, such as steaks, in the center of the rack with medium to high heat.

Use tongs to turn the food and let each side get the same amount of cooking time, to make sure that it’s properly cooked. Keep adjusting the heat as needed (this is one of the benefits a gas grill offers over a charcoal grill). Once you’re finished, take out the food and turn down the heat. Leave the grill lid open and turn off the propane tank.

Do You Leave The Gas On While Grilling?

Yes, the gas is supposed to be left on while grilling. Make sure to not leave your grill without anyone present to keep an eye on it. Especially if you have children that are playing in the area.

As an additional safety measure you can keep a fire extinguisher nearby – it’s never a bad idea to have one in your home anyway and chances are low you will never need to use it.

Why Do You Preheat A Gas Grill?

Preheating the grill always is the first step when grilling. Without preheating, you run the risk of burning the food because it will make it harder to get cooking times right – much like in an oven.

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Without having reached an high enough temperature first, your food will generally have to stay on the grill for too long which in turn can lead to it being overcooked. Avoid it unless you fancy burned or dry meat! Preheating also helps you in cleaning the grill before you actually start cooking.

How Long Should You Preheat Your Grill For?

A gas grill needs to be preheated for about 10-15 minutes to reach a high enough temperature. When cooking at lower temperatures, like you would when using the grill for slow cooking, preheat the grill for 10 minutes or less. The times might vary a bit and can also depend on the temperatures outside and if it’s windy or not (for example when grilling in winter).

Always light a gas grill when the lid is open. If the lid is closed, there could be a dangerous gas built-up waiting to explode. After lighting the grill, keep the lid closed and wait for the temperature inside to reach whatever level you need it to be at. Many gas grills have a built-in thermometer on the lid to see if it’s ready for cooking.

Other Tips For Using A Gas Grill

  • Use long matches or a lighter with a long handle instead of a standard lighter to ignite the grill (your fingers will thank you!).
  • Do not use charcoal or lighter liquid in combination with a gas grill.
  • Clean your gas grill when your cookout is finished. This makes cleaning easier on you and will make operating the grill safer.
How To Use A Gas Grill: A Beginner’s Guide

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