If you’re eager to do some outdoor grilling and BBQing, but you’re wondering how to use a gas grill to get the best results, there are some basic guidelines to follow and a few things you should know before you get started.
You should also know simple BBQ repair, in case something breaks during use. Another bit to know is how grills are measured, so you’ll buy the right size for your needs. And, how hot charcoal grills get, providing you’re using a charcoal grill. Otherwise, read on for gas grill usage.
Even the best gas grill won’t get you ideal results if you don’t learn how to use it properly. Once you’re confident in your grilling skills, you may want to look at how to do some basic repairs, like gas grill igniter replacement.
Gas grills use one of two basic fuel types: propane or natural gas. While each has its pros and cons, the actual act of grilling is pretty much the same, so these general steps should work for just about any grill and most kinds of meat.
A good way to test how cooked meat is while grilling is to press on it with a spatula to test its firmness; cooked meat is firmer than raw meat.
To give a simple example, the following instructions are for grilling medium-rare hamburgers. Also, be sure to check out our article on how grills are measured.
If your grill has an igniter button (most gas grills do), press and hold the igniter button while turning the closest burner control knob.
Check to see that the burner tube under the cooking grate has ignited. You’ll see a row of blue flames. If it’s lit, let go of the igniter button. If it’s not, turn the burner control knob and igniter button off, wait about two minutes or until any gas has dissipated, and try again. Repeat for all burners. You may use long matches if the igniter continues to not work.
Set all your burners to maximum temperature and close the lid, then wait until the grill gets to 400 degrees (about 10-15 minutes).
Open the lid and clean the cooking grates with your stainless steel brush.
Place all your hamburger patties on the grill at the same time if possible, being sure to leave at least one inch of space between each patty.
Allow the patties to cook for 2 minutes for medium-rare (over medium heat) until their undersides are visibly browned. Test one patty by lifting it with your spatula or tongs. If it comes off cleanly without sticking, you’re ready to flip all the patties and grill the next side for no longer than 2 minutes.
Look to see if any of the patties are cooking faster or slower than others, which is common because of uneven heat distribution on many grills. You can switch slower cooking patties with faster cooking ones to compensate.
For medium-rare burgers, the patties should be somewhat firm when pressed with a spatula. You may test one with a meat thermometer; medium-rare burgers should be 130 degrees in the center.
Remove the burgers when they’re done and shut off the burners immediately, double-checking knob positions to be sure no gas is still flowing.
Turn the grill’s gas supply valve off all the way. Allow the grill to cool down completely before closing the lid. Do not leave the lid open when not in use.
Always make sure your grill is in a well-ventilated area. Never use a grill indoors or in a small enclosed space.
Can you use charcoal in a gas grill?
If you want to use charcoal in your gas grill to impart the smoky flavor charcoal gives meat, you may be able to do so, depending on your specific grill model. Some grills are designed to accommodate this. Don’t attempt to do so if your grill’s manual doesn’t have instructions for it.
Can you still use lava rocks on a gas grill?
Lava rocks are used to increase the heat in a gas grill since they don’t get as hot as charcoal grills. This isn’t necessary for newer models, however, and using them could actually damage your grill.
How do you store propane tanks safely?
Propane tanks should always be stored outside and never inside a garage or shed. You can store tanks underneath your grill if it’s covered properly.
STAT: Gas grills now comprise almost 60% of all grill sales yearly in the U.S. (source)