GrillJunkie – Addiction to Grilling-What Fires YOU Up?

Grilling Safety Tips: Houston, We Have a Flare-up!

Grilling Safety Tips: Dealing With and Preventing Flare-Ups

Grilling Safety Tips: Prevent and Prepare for flare-ups

Grilling Safety Tips: Prevent and Prepare for flare-ups

Houston, we have a Flare-Up. Please advise! The team here at GrillJunkie™ is frequently consulted about Grilling Safety Tips, which inevitably leads to a conversation on how to prevent and deal with flare-ups. If anything, please remember this:

“Do not fear flare-ups! Just respect them.”

The secret of flare-ups is to control them. First of all it’s important that you understand that flare-ups are not as big a problem as you might think, if controlled of course. Contained and quick flare-ups are okay, in fact they’re part of the science and experience of grilling. It’s only when the fire gets out of control that you have a problem. Fortunately, there are several ways to deal with flare-ups, mostly focused on the two essentials; Preparation and Prevention.

It is important to not only plan on a flare-up, but is more pertinent to prepare for them. The first step is to reduce the risk of or causes of a flare-up. One way to do this is by trimming any and all “unnecessary” fat from the foods you grill, but don’t go too crazy, so as to change the ultimate purpose of leaving some fat on your grilled food: taste!

For the sake of flavor, meats should be left with a little fat on them. Leaving a certain amount of fat also prevents meat from drying out while grilling. It is important to note that fat not only comes in the form of meat fat, but can also come from sources such as oils in marinades or sauces. The two keys to avoiding flare–ups when marinading meats is to allowed the mixture to sink in fully and to remove excessive amount of dripping oil when placed on the hot grill. 

Flare-up:  Burn out or uncontrolled?

Flare-up: Burn out or uncontrolled?

Again, herein lies the art of grilling, as you want to strike a balance between flare-up control and fat removal. You cannot, and most importantly, should not take away all the fat. Foods such as chicken with the skin on, or a good thick steak or hamburger patty are going to have fat which significantly add to the flavor of the meal.

However, that fat is going to melt and quite likely catch fire. That’s expected. Of all the grilling safety tips we’ve dispensed one of the most important with regards to fire safety is to always be prepared for large and uncontrolled grease fires and to have a flare-up control plan.

Unless you are grilling enough food to cover the entire cooking surface of your grill, which is highly discouraged, you need to be ever-ready to move food out of the area of the flare-up, to another and safer part of the grill grate. This will provide you with the ability to keep foods out of the way of a danger area, increasing the safety of your cooking and of course preventing you from burning your much anticipated meal, the grill, your house and possibly the neighborhood. Your once cherished status of the neighborhood Master of the Grill will literally go up in smoke!

Grilling Safety Tips: Do not overcrowd AND use those upper racks

Grilling Safety Tips: Do not overcrowd AND use those upper racks

Once you have cleared the flare-up area of food let the area burn the fat or grease away. You will find that a small amount of fat exposed to flame and intense heat will burn away quickly. A tip would be to use upper warming racks, if available, to hold food temporarily while the flare-ups are dealt with.

The Grilling Safety Tips Golden Rule:

“If you can’t prevent it, be prepared to control it”.

Grilling Safety Tips: Should We Use a Spray Bottle?

What about a keeping a water-bottle close at hand? A water filled spray bottle is a flare-up tool of last resort. Many so called “experts” keep a spray bottle of water close at hand to put out flare-ups the instant they happen. There are several reasons you don’t want to use a spray bottle, and we learned this long ago in science class. 

Water and oil, or burning grease do not mix and you don’t put water on a grease fire. That’s rule number one. Secondly while the water may temporarily reduce or even put out the fire it does not rid us of the catalyst, the grease in the grill. 

Safety is Job #1 when grilling

Safety is Job #1 when grilling

So the instant that the existing grease heats up again the flare-up will return. And finally, when you spray a grease fire with water, the grease does something very dangerous and undesirable, it explodes. The explosion causes splatter over your food, and, let’s face it, partially burned grease doesn’t taste very good at all. 

If you are faced with an uncontrollable flare-up, and you want to avoid spoiling the food with a grease splatter, move the food out of the way, off the grill to a plate, turn off the burners and close the lid to starve the flame of oxygen and put it out. From here, you are back in control and can start cooking again.

A Clean Grill is Your Best Defense

Keep a Clean Grill: Top among Grilling Safety Tips

Keep a Clean Grill: Top among Grilling Safety Tips

A clean grill really does produce fewer flare-ups. Once you’ve experienced that big flare-up it’s a sign from the grilling gods that it is time to clean out your grill. A good place to start is to fire up the grill and let it heat up good and hot in order to burn away as much grease as you can from the grates and sides.

Then after it has thoroughly cooled, get in there and clean out all the burnt grease and food from the bottom of your grill. Don’t forget to clean out that grease trap as well, which is usually located underneath and on the outside of the lower heating chamber. Be prepared for a greasy mess if you haven’t attended to it in a while. All in all, remember the two Grilling Safety Tips related to flare-ups: Preparation and Prevention.

What are your thoughts? What Fires You Up? We welcome your comments, healthy debate, and the inevitable disagreement. Leave a reply or comment. It’s OK. Bring it on!

Comments ( 2 )

  1. ReplyGrillJunkie - Addiction to Grilling | Top 10 Gas Grills of 2014: Under $250

    Also, the GrillJunkie Product Review team did experience some flare-up issues. If you can deal with these limitations and know how to tame a flare-up you will be fine

  2. ReplyVirtual server

    Plan on taking your grill with you on a camping trip or picnic? Check out our tips that feature fire safe information on charcoal grills, barbecues and hibatchis.

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