Addressing some of the most common problems with outdoor grills.
We are finally at the start of grilling season! Whether you’re buying a new grill or pulling your trusty cooker out of winter storage, you’re going to want to make sure it’s in top operating condition before throwing your first backyard bash. Here are some of the most common questions and complaints we get about grills, and some of our suggestions. For more in-depth information on any of these points, please leave us a comment at the bottom of the page.
Why won’t my grill light?
There can be a variety of causes, so start simple. First, make sure your grill is getting fuel! Check that the gas line valve is open, and (if using an LP grill) that the tank has fuel and its valve is open as well. If you can light your grill with a match, that means it’s not a fuel issue and is probably caused by the ignition system. Press the igniter button. If you don’t hear a click, the battery may be dead. If you’ve replaced the battery and it still doesn’t light, the igniter may have failed and will need to be replaced.
Why won’t my grill get hot?
First, (see the previous tip) make sure your grill is lit! If it is, but the flames are low, your burners may be clogged and in need of a cleaning. If your burners appear clean and your LP tank is full (or natural gas line valve is open) they may not be getting proper gas flow. That may require resetting be going at full power, carefully check the body of your grill for any holes that may have been caused by rust; these will let the heat escape, keeping temps down no matter how high you turn up the flame.
What color should the flame be on my gas grill?
The flame on your grill should be blue, or blue with some yellow/orange at the tips of the flames. A completely yellow flame is a sign of low gas pressure or a poor air/gas mix. Check your owner’s manual for info on how to reset your grill’s regulator or adjust the burner air intake. Double-check that the burners are not clogged with grease or food debris.
Do I need to close my gas valve when I’m done grilling?
Yes! We know it can be tempting to leave your gas valve open when the food is done and you just want to eat. But just turning the grill knobs to OFF is not enough. If the gas valve (either on your LP tank or natural gas line) is left open and the knob is accidentally turned on, the grill can fill with gas, creating a potentially dangerous situation when you’re ready to light it. Leaving the valve open can cause the regulator to go into “bypass,” a safety mode intended to contain gas leaks. While bypass is not a dangerous issue, it does become an inconvenience that takes longer time to fix than simply closing the valve in the first place.
How much propane is in my tank?
There are a variety of accessories that can help you determine the fuel level in your LP tank, but if you don’t already have one, they won’t help you in a pinch. Use this simple method to figure out how much LP is in your grill tank without needing any tools. Fill a pitcher with hot tap water. Dump it down the side of the LP tank. Feel the side of the tank, and the point at which the steel becomes cold is the level of the propane left in the tank.
Can I convert my LP grill to natural gas?
This is a firm “maybe.” The two fuels burn at different temperatures, so the internals of the grills are different a . Some manufacturers offer dual-fuel grills that can run on either LP or natural gas, but you’ll still need to buy a conversion kit to make the switch. If the goal of your switch is to save money, it may end taking quite some time to recoup the initial costs of the conversion. Your best bet is to be certain you choose the appropriate fuel type when you first buy your grill.
How to clean a grill without a wire brush:
For most grillers, a wire grill brush is the first accessory purchased. If you don’t happen to have one, or you want to avoid it for safety reasons (bristles can break off and end up in your food), there are a few other options you probably have around the house.
- Foil: wad up a sheet of aluminum foil, hold it with a pair of tongs and use that to scrape the gunk off your grates.
- Onion: Heat your grill up to hot, then cut an onion in half, poke it onto the end of a grill fork, and scrub down your grates. If you’re using a charcoal grill, throw the used onion into the fire for some added flavor.
- Lemon: Same tactic as the onion, but with the added cleaning power of the acidic lemon juice.
My grill grates are rusty!
If it’s a porcelain-enameled grate that has rusted, it should be replaced for safety reasons. Stainless steel and cast iron grill grates can be cleaned with some elbow grease, because the rust will likely just be on the surface. While cool, soap them up and give them a good scrub with a fine steel wool pad. Rinse them off before using. To prevent rust, thoroughly clean the grates after every use, because moisture in food remnants can accelerate rust formation. In between uses, apply a coating of cooking oil to the grates, especially in humid environments. When cleaning porcelain-enameled grates, be careful not to scratch the surface with your wire brush.
The inside of my Weber grill is peeling!
This is one of the most common comments we encounter every season, but the truth is that it’s nothing to worry about—that’s not paint! Weber uses a bake-on enamel finish that is nearly indestructible, and won’t peel. What you’re seeing is actually a layer of accumulated grease and soot that builds up after regular grill use. It’s pretty harmless, but still not something you want to eat. A quick scrape should get all of the loose flakes off before your next cookout.
Should I grill with the lid open or closed?
While there are various factors that keep this from being a black-and-white answer, the short answer is: keep it closed for thick cuts of meat and things you want cooked throughout (like entire roasts); leave it open for thinner foods