When it comes to the grill, safety is No.1 and the most important thing to keep in mind. There has been much advancement over the decades to enhance the grilling experience; those that give you unparalleled performance, and those that keep you safe when using raw energy that comes from mixing fuel and flame. Proper maintenance on your grill goes a long way, and will keep your grill working smoothly. In this article we will look at some important maintenance tips, and how to prepare in the event of an emergency.
Recently, I was cooking a gorgeous rack of ribs on my grill. I had made sure to scrub the grates clean beforehand, and the meat was sizzling away with that familiar sound we all know and love. A few minutes later, it was time to put on the sauce. Well coated and ready to be flipped, the ribs were on their merry way to grilled perfection. That’s when it happened. The sauce dripped onto a sear plate, and instead of evaporating, caused a flare up, which ignited the grease that had built up in the grease tray. With calm, swift action, and some baking soda, I was able to quench the flames and get on with my grilling, the hungry guests none the wiser. That being said, this event was preventable. Here are some pointers on preventing and putting out grease fires that could happen unexpectedly to you.
Grease Fires And How to Prevent Them
The first tip to preventing grease fires and flare-ups is to clean your grill. Every grill has a drip pan and tray under its cooking grids and burners. When they become too full, and when the oil or grease has reached its maximum temperature, grease fires occur. These pans and trays are removable and should be checked on weekly. If you’re a frequent user of the grill, then check twice.
How to Do it:
- When grill is OFF and preferably cool, slide the drip pan out of your grill.
- Scrape off grease and dried debris, and dispose it.
- Under warm water, soak and rinse the drip pan. For a deeper clean, use a small amount of mild soap and a non-abrasive cloth; make sure you rinse well!
- When dried, place back in the grill.
- Monitor the grease levels in the removable drip tray at the back of your grill. Replace the drip tray when full, they’re disposable.
2. Scrape Your Grids
Always scrape your cooking grids before or after every use, while the grill is still hot. Dried on meat and grease not only harbor bacteria and other nasties that can affect the outcome of your meals, but they can cause unwanted flare-ups. Using your grill brush while the grill is still hot is the best way to keep your cooking grids clean. But, you can also give them a good scrubbing with a soft cloth and mild soap when you clean your drip pan.
3. Prep your Station
Baking soda is the most effective form of fire extinguisher; it quickly cuts off the oxygen supply to the flame. Keep a box or 2 in or near your grill station, as well as a fire extinguisher. Salt will also work in smothering a flame. DO NOT use flour, or water ever when you need to put out a grease fire. It will explode and can severely injure yourself and damage your home.
Grease fires are a rare and unexpected phenomenon and can happen to any griller on any grill, advanced or novice. But with proper maintenance of your grill, they should never happen to you. Just remember that you’re cooking with fire, so never leave your grill unattended. Besides, you don’t want to burn your steak do you?