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Ways to Avoid Flare-ups While Grilling

Surprise fact number one- water is bad for containing grill flare-ups! To know why water isn’t too effective on a grill flare-up, you need to know how it all happens. You get an uncontrolled flare-up if any fat comes in direct contact with the flame source. You get grease on the charcoal or the inside of the grill if:

– You accidentally slather too much grease on the meat. Some of it falls down onto the source.
– Grease collects on the lower surface as the grill gets older. It eventually catches fire when you use the grill.

How to Prevent Flare-ups While Grilling?

Putting Out a Flare-up
Now, if you try to put this out with water, it will just sizzle off, mix with the fat and create more smoke, making the whole affair even messier.

– If you try to spray water on it, the grease might start spreading out, getting thinner-layered. This will go out two ways; it will stop the fire at the moment, but you will get another flare-up eventually, or it will only make the fire much bigger with all that hot grease spreading around. You will, therefore, restrict yourself from using a spray bottle on a gas grill!
– The right way to put out a grill fire is to get it under control. The best way to do it is to get your meat out from the place where the grill caught fire and shut the lid on the grill. That way, you’ll cut off the oxygen to the flame and it will stop burning. If you’re using a gas grill, turn off the gas from the cylinder itself. Always make sure that no vent stays open when you close the lid on the flame.

Avoiding a Flare-up
Now that you know how to stop your grill from catching on fire, we will also learn about the ways to prevent a possible flare-up. Knowing how a problem is caused is the best way to know how to deal with it.

– If the fire is caused by fat dripping on to the flames, cut down on the fat. I know, the fat is what makes the meat taste better. I’m just saying lower the fat content outside the meat, cut off all excess fat on the outside the meat. With a little experience, you will successfully be able to get rid of extra fat without making the cooked meat too dry.
– The other culprit is the marinade. Let the entire meat soak in all the marinade it can and drain off the remaining.
– Make sure your grill is clean whenever you want to use it. Clean up all the older grease that’s dried up on the inside of the grill. A clean surface ensures no more flare-ups. This needs to be done regularly because even if you take precautions against the fat reaching the fire, you will still spill some anyway. Cleaning your grill works in two ways; you avoid future fires and your chicken won’t taste like beef! Cleaning off the older fat ensures you don’t get that taste on the current meat you’re cooking.
– Another way to avoid a potential flare-up is to push the coal (before you start the grill up) onto one side of the grill and placing a pan on the other side. Cook your meat over the pan, so any excess fat that melts away from the meat falls into the pan and not the coal. You can also arrange the coal around the pan or on either of two sides of the pan.
– To save your food from being burnt in case the grill catches fire, always keep a small section in a corner of the grill free of coals. So in the event of an unwanted flare-up, just move the meat to where the coal isn’t there and close the lid. This way you protect the meat and stop a fire.
– Never overcrowd the grill with meat. Always keep some free moving space to move the meat around a little. This also allows you to arrange the meat better, keeping the pieces of chicken with more skin on the outer side of the grill.
– If you’re grilling chicken on a broiler rack, don’t line it with aluminum foil. Although it may protect the rack from burns, what happens is the fat that leaks off the chicken collects onto the foil folds. This will cause a flare-up once the foil reaches a hot enough temperature or accidentally drops off into the flames.

And there you have it, a fail-safe checklist of making sure you don’t get a flare-up when you least expect it to happen. Always remember that you’re playing with fire here and it pays to know how to use it right.