Cooking a meal on a grill can be a great way to spend a summer afternoon, but while gas barbecues combine utility with convenience they can also be risky. A good place to start, according to Diane Morgan and E.J. Armstrong, in their Grill Every Day: 125 Fast-Track Recipes For Weeknights at the Grill, is to buy a good-quality unit to start with. Gas barbecues work by igniting compressed propane gas to heat the grill. Obviously a tank of compressed flammable gas next to a naked flame
is inherently risky so controls have evolved over time to minimize the risk. Most people who are injured while operating a gas barbecue are hurt when starting a grill they haven’t used for some time, or just after connecting a new gas container. This can be due to storing the container incorrectly; keeping a tank of propane in a hot car
Chief amongst these is a device built onto the tank that limits the flow of gas, allowing you to turn the flow of gas off if the hose breaks.
Within the grill unit, a heat diffuser is another vital safety feature. It keeps the heat even throughout the area of the grill, but it’s other function is to prevent meat juices falling on the burners. Flammable fats falling onto a naked flame can cause a fire easily, and meat can give off more grease than you’d think, so a working heat diffuser is essential.
It’s also vital to ensure that you know where the off switch is located. If an accident should occur, you’ll need to hit this fast to eliminate the flow of gas and start the grill cooling. Turning the grill off will also prevent gas buildup in the fuel lines, which can cause them to crack or burst.
It’s important to use the safety features too. Be careful not to store gas bottles incorrectly. Keep your grill clean; meat fat collecting in the bottom of the grill can add up to several pounds after only a few uses, forming a reservoir of flammable goo just waiting to get up to temperature and explode in your face. Practice turning off the gas supply, so you can do it fast if there’s a fire or malfunction. Never leave the grill unattended and check that everything is in working order before you light up.
Mark, the author of this article, is a self professed barbecue fanatic and general handyman. He enjoys sharing his knowledge of these areas, through blogging and constructing informative articles. For more informative gas barbecue articles, watch this space! Mark Matts http://www.amazines.com/