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How to use a Gas Grill

Despite gas grills being famous for being very convenient, plenty of people might wonder how to properly cook food on a gas grill.

When purchasing a new device, almost every time there’s plenty of questions on how to properly use it. I invite you to read this simple guide for beginners where you will learn how to use gas grill as well as read several useful tips that will allow you to master your grill much better.

If for a long time you have been wondering which gas grill you should buy, read the full buyers guide with the best gas grills reviews where you will find a lot of proposals divided into different categories ( price, size, quality etc ). I created this guide because I know how many grills are available on the market and how difficult it is to make the final reasonable purchase.

Below you’ll find the list of things that are worth paying attention to when cooking and the most common mistakes people make after starting a gas grill.

Of course there’s nothing complicated about starting a gas grill, but I suggest to follow the basic rules and techniques of cooking on a gas grill in order to be able to fully enjoy all of its features.

How to Light a Gas Grill

how to turn on a gas grill

It’s a simple action, but there are plenty of different grills which is why I suggest to read the manual before starting the gas grill for the first time for safety reasons.

That way you’ll learn everything about its features and how it works. But if for some reason you have no access to the manual, follow the tips below.

  • Make sure that when you start the gas grill the lid is always open, it will prevent gas from building up in the event that one of the burners doesn’t light up.
  • Slowly open the propane or natural gas tank valve and wait for a moment.
  • Set the knob to „light”, if your grill has no such setting then just set it to „high” and click the ignition button.

Hint* After one burner lights up, you can start another without the igniter as long as it’s close to the lit up burner, to do that just turn the knob of another burner.

How to Light a Gas Grill without ignitor

turn on gas grill manually

What to do if the electric igniter is broken? In such case it is possible to turn on a gas grill using the emergency manual method. Depending on the grill plenty of things may be different which is why it’s always better to read the manual.

So, how to light a gas grill without ignitor ?

To start a gas grill manually, first you have to open the grill’s lid ( always remember about that ), turn the burner’s knob, and then provide fire next to the burner inside the grill to cause ignition.

In most cases gas grills are equipped with a special hole where you can put a match, then your task will be to light a match and put it in the hole next to the burner with gas coming out of it.

Might sound a little complicated, but in reality it’s a very simple task.

Make sure to always close the gas tank valve after you’re done cooking.

How to cook on a gas grill

cook on a gas grill

First thing you have to do before starting to cook is to properly warm the grill up. To do that, turn on the gas grill by setting the knobs at full and close the grill’s lid. Wait 10-15 minutes for the grill to reach a high temperature, once the temperature gets high you can change the burners’ settings to the right temperature that matches your food.

Then open the lid and check out the condition of your grates. If they are dirty then clean them using a special brush, if they aren’t then you can move on to cooking your favorite dishes.

Make sure to always warm up the grill properly before you start cooking, it prevents the food from sticking to the grates

Gas Grilling Tips & Techniques

gas grilling tips

There’s an array of important things you have to do before cooking and after it.

Plenty of them have to be done regularly as they have a significant impact on plenty of aspects pertaining to cooking.

  • Cleanness – Every time before starting cooking or after finishing it, warm up the grill, and then clean the grates off the food remains and grease using a special brush. A dirty grill negatively impacts the food’s flavor and causes flare-ups. Try to do this regularly so that your grill is clean, if you don’t know how to do it then check out my on how to clean a gas grill. It’s not just about the grates but also about other elements of a gas grill that you have to remember about.
  • Flare-ups problem – The best solution is to leave some empty space on the grates. When big flare-ups occur, just move the food to the empty space next to it and wait a moment for the fire to go out on its own.
  • Opening the lid – I know that most of us like to keep checking out how our food looks, but it is a huge mistake to open the lid often. The moment you open the lid, you lose temperature as the heat escapes. Try to open the lid as little as possible, and your food will cook faster and more thoroughly. I know it might be difficult at first, but over time you’ll get used to it and will be able to tell when it’s more or less the time to really open the lid and check the food’s condition, instead of pointlessly opening it every minute.
  • Cooking areas – Use all your burners wisely, and you will find out why a gas grill is convenient and versatile.

You can use all the burners by setting a high temperature and cooking the food really fast in the hot area directly above the source of heat ( direct grilling ).

It’s a good solution when you want to cook steaks or hamburgers, especially when it comes to getting a high temperature that is enough for searing. 

For cooking whole chickens or vegetables over longer time at low temperatures, you can use cooking with the indirect method.

How does it work? You’ll find it all out here. I’ll just briefly say that it consists of splitting the grill’s area into the cold one and the hot one in order to put the food on the cold side above a turned off burner and leave the other side with the burner turned on.

This method works really great when cooking thick slabs or delicate food that requires much more time.

  • Searing – Some models of gas grills offer a special sear station. This feature is characterized by being able to create an area where a very hot temperature is achieved very fast that is perfect for searing. 

What is searing ? It’s a process where you cook meat for a moment on very hot grates. Before placing the meat try to get your grill as hot as possible. The entire process has a significant impact on the food’s external appearance and taste.

Caramelized surface of the meat gives it a crunchy and aromatic surface. It also causes visual changes in form of the very well known grill marks.

Of course it is possible without special features, but you will need more time to warm up the grill to a high enough temperature, the higher the better.

  • ​Smoky Flavor – If you had always used a charcoal grill prior to the purchase, you will definitely be able to tell the taste of gas grill food apart, or rather the lack of the smoky flavor. It’s all because of the gas, which burns differently from charcoal, which produces plenty of valuable smoke. I know that it’s a very significant factor to many, the deciding one even when it comes to making a decision on buying a new grill.

That’s why I’d like to inform you that you can cook on a gas grill and still produce a rich smoky flavor similar to the one you know from charcoal grills. How to do that? The key is to use wood chips, which generate plenty of smoke that is beneficial to food.

How to do it?

You really should read my guide on how to generate smoke on a gas grill and learn two simple methods that will enable you to produce enough smoke to enrich the flavor of your food.

  • Cook in the right temperature – For most people it might be obvious, but for beginners it’s not always all so simple, remember to cook food in the right temperature. It means that it’s a mistake to warm up the grill to the highest possible temperature and cook everything in the same conditions. Cooking thick slabs of meat at a high temperature directly above the burner will result in a raw meat on the inside. Which means that if you’re not experienced in cooking on a grill, you should really learn in what temperatures you should cook particular food and with which methods ( indirect or direct ). Steaks or thin slabs of hamburgers should be cooked fast at a high temperature directly above the source of heat, whereas vegetables, fishes, a whole chicken or any huge slabs of meat in most cases should be cooked in a much lower temperature, over a longer time and using the indirect method.
  • Meat thermometer – If you’re not sure if the meat is good on the inside, the best solution will be to buy a meat thermometer. It allows to check the temperature inside the meat quickly and easily. Then check in the recipe or anywhere else what internal temperature the meat should have when done. That way you’ll be sure that the cooked meat is not raw on the inside which is the worst thing that can happen to you when cooking on a grill. A very good solution for cooking steaks, which can be prepared at as many as 6 levels of being done. A meat thermometer is cheap so I think that it should be present at every household as it works in plenty of situations.
  • Use a heating rack – It is located the farthest from the burners, which means you can use this cooler area for longer, slow cooking of very delicate food or simply to warm up something like a sausage.
  • Fuel – Your grill that runs on tank propane has the flaw of making you check the fuel level once in a while. The best solution is to have a second spare propane tank. If the first one unexpectedly runs out during cooking, it only takes few minutes to replace it with the new one. There’s nothing worse than finding out halfway through the cooking that there’s no fuel left or spare tank and a trip to the nearest station/store is necessary to get a new tank. Such situation has a negative impact not only on the hungry guests but on the food as well.
  • Control and management – Have one responsible person assigned to everything related to cooking on the grill, controlling the cooking process the entire time. There’s plenty of things you have to pay attention to when cooking, being distracted for too long might lead to burned food. The key to successful grilling is control and paying attention to everything related to your grill.