Propane gas grills have made it possible to cook outdoors any time of the year without the hassle of charcoal grilling. Gas grilling is so convenient that it is almost like having a standard kitchen stove on your back patio. You have complete control of the level of heat, and the grill is ready to use within minutes. You still have the flavor of cooking over a fire, but the fire can be turned off or on with the turn of a handle. Using a gas grill brings a touch of civilization to the process of cooking outdoors.
Cooking With Gas
The process of cooking on a gas grill is very similar to the process of cooking on a charcoal grill. One of the main differences is that you don’t have to worry about hot and cold spots on the cooking surface. Gas heats the grill evenly from side to side and front to back. This allows you to use every inch of the cooking surface to cook with at any time. If you have a second rack above the rear of the grill, you can cook several items at once and then place them on the rack to keep warm until everything is ready.
Using Lava Rocks
Many gas grills come with lava rocks that can be placed under the cooking surface to help distribute the heat more evenly. The rocks conduct the heat from the propane flame very quickly, and are an excellent way to make it feel more like you are using a traditional charcoal grill without the mess or hassle. When you put the lava rocks into the grill, spread them evenly in a single layer across the bottom. When the flame is turned on, they will immediately begin to radiate the heat throughout the layer of rocks. Lava rocks will break down over time, so they need to be replaced periodically. You will notice that they crack or begin to crumble when they have reached the end of their usefulness.
Keeping it Clean
Gas grills are incredibly easy to keep clean. You can clean off the lava rocks after each grilling session by closing the lid and turning the heat up to high for about 15 minutes. The intense heat works much the same way a self cleaning oven does. Any excess fat that might have dripped onto the rocks while the food was cooking will evaporate as the heat rises. After the grill cools off, you can wipe down the cooking surface with a damp cloth. The rocks should be cleaned by hand every now and then to get rid of any extra debris that may have built up over time.
Proper Propane Storage
Propane storage is a big part of maintaining a gas grill. The canisters that most propane is stored in are small and easy to pack away when they are not being used. You can leave a propane canister hooked up to your grill in almost any weather safely. If you have excess propane tanks, they should be stored in an area that doesn’t experience wide shifts in temperature. A garage or storage shed can house propane tanks without any danger as long as they don’t get extremely hot during the summer. Every propane tank is equipped with a safety release valve that will expel any pent up pressure when the tank becomes overheated. Don’t store propane tanks near items that are extremely flammable, just in case anything unexpected should occur. Propane is highly flammable and should be treated with respect at all times.