Get Cookin': How to Light a Gas Grill
For many people, summer means backyard cookouts, and gas grills are a fun, easy way to cook food outdoors. But, if you grew up with charcoal and lighter fluid, the thought of learning how to use a propane grill might be foreign to you.
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be complicated. So, whether you have a taste for the perfect T-bone or you just want to throw on some burgers and dogs for a poolside gathering, read on to learn how to light a grill and get cooking with gas.
If you’ve traded in your charcoal grill for a gas-powered model and you’re ready to cook, it's time to learn how to start a gas grill.
Step 1: Choose a Location For Your Grill
For safety, place your grill (and propane tank) on a hard, level surface that's at least 3 feet away from your house and at least 10 feet away from any flammable materials. However, some manufacturers have different guidelines, so consult your instruction manual for model-specific information.
Step 2: Connect the Gas
Most gas grills use propane tanks, which can be purchased and filled at your local home improvement store. Before connecting the tank to the grill, make sure the valve is in the off position. If it isn't, turn it clockwise or follow the printed "closed" arrow on the cylinder. Your grill’s burner knobs should also be in the off position. Finally, connect the tank’s nozzle to the grill’s gas line and tighten it by hand. If your grill runs on natural gas through a home gas line, use a quick-connect hose to attach it to the grill’s gas line. You should always consult your grill’s manufacturer’s instructions for model-specific instructional and safety information before connecting the unit to propane or natural gas.
Step 3: Open the Lid
For safety, you should never try to light a gas grill with the lid closed. That’s because gas can build up beneath a closed lid, causing a flare-up or explosion when the grill is lit.
Step 4: Check Your Fuel
If you’re using propane, check the tank’s fuel level to make sure you have enough to accommodate the cooking time and temperature.
Step 5: Open the Valve on the Propane Tank
Open the shutoff valve, which is typically located at the top of the propane tank, by turning the knob counterclockwise or following the cylinder's "open" arrow.
Step 6: Turn on the Burners
By turning on the burners, you’ll start the gas flowing to the grill. If your gas has multiple burners, only turn on the ones you intend to use.
Step 7: Click the Igniter Button
This is typically a black button located on the grill's front control panel, near the knobs. It may also be referred to as the starter. Keep clicking it until you see and hear the grill ignite. If your grill doesn’t light, you may need to change the batteries in the ignition button. (The AA batteries typically sit right behind the button.)
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Step 8: Wait a Few Seconds
Gas grills typically take about 20 seconds to start warming up. To test for heat, hold your hand at least 6 inches above the cooking grate. If your grill isn't heating up, it probably didn't ignite. Leave the lid open to air it out. Then, wait for a few minutes and repeat steps 5 through 8.
Step 9: Let Your Grill Preheat
For optimal cooking, let your grill preheat for about 15 or 20 minutes before placing food on the grilling surface.
Step 10: Arrange and Cook Your Food
After your grill reaches the ideal cooking temperature for the food you’re preparing, it’s time to cook. Space the food evenly on the cooking grate, leaving room to flip or rearrange each item. When arranging your food, you can take advantage of the grill's direct heat by placing items directly over the flames, or you can place food to the side for indirect heat. A light coating of vegetable oil on the grill’s grates can minimize sticking.
How to Turn off a Gas Grill
When you’re done cooking, turn the burner knobs to their off position and close the propane tank’s valve by turning the knob clockwise. Once the grill is cool to the touch, use a brush or scraper to remove any food residue from the cooking surface and clean it with a grill-safe cleaner. After the surface has fully cooled, close the lid and safeguard the unit from inclement weather with a grill cover until the next use.
Practice Grill Safety
Instructions for how to use a gas grill can vary by make and model. To ensure safe use, familiarize yourself with the manufacturer’s instruction manual before operating your appliance.
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