Grill Safety: Dealing With Grill Flare Ups

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A Serious Grill Flare Up

If your grill flares up like this, call for help!

 Cooking out is a fun & lively activity, but it’s important to remember that safety should always be the first priority. While grill flare ups are a part of cooking, please keep in mind that they could be deadly if you get careless. Take a look at this video to see what I mean:

 Even though Hanna is talking about a gas fired grill (and we here at discuss grilling with charcoal), good grill safety is a topic that’s important for all cooks.

 With that said, let’s get back to talking about flare ups.


So How Do Grill Flare Ups Happen?

Usually, when you combine a very hot grill with excess juices, oils, and/or liquids from the meat sitting on that hot rack, you’re going to get a flare up. There’s no need to panic or worry, it’s just a natural part of outdoor backyard cooking. This is typically how it happens, based on my experience:

  • When I throw burgers on, I expect to a have a flare up or two. That’s because once those burgers start cooking, those oils leak into the pit of coals sparking those flames

  • For any meats that I have had marinating, that excess marinade on the bottom of the meat will drip into the pit causing a flare up.

  • If I’m cooking a thick piece of meat, as that baby has cooked on one side for awhile and the juices rise to the topside of the meat, if I turn it at that point, I know there’s gonna be a grill flare up.

The main thing to know is that a flare up isn’t necessarily bad, in my opinion. To me, that’s just the fire getting a little taste of the meal. Of course you don’t want constant flare ups burning the meat into a piece of coal either. So what do you do?


A red hot fire

Make sure you don’t let it get to this point.

How to Handle Your Grill Flare Ups

The easiest and most effective way to handle flare ups is to move the meat from the center of the grill to a cooler part of the grill. Normally, when you center your coals and place your meat in the center too, you’ll get a fair amount of flare ups. If you find that to be the case, just move the meat off center. It’ll still cook, just indirectly. The food may take a bit longer to finish, but you also know it won’t get charred up. With experience, you will handle those flare ups in stride. Just be careful and safety conscious at all times. As long as you stay aware, you’re grilling sessions should be fine.

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