Everyone loves a good barbecue. The grilled food, the cool drinks, the fun atmosphere — who doesn’t want all that on a beautiful day in a beautiful backyard?
Nothing puts a damper on a glorious afternoon filled with friends and family faster than a grill fire. Aside from being scary for anyone in the vicinity, it can be downright dangerous if it’s not contained quickly.
The good news is that there are many grill manufacturers who are making improvements in their design and technology in order to increase BBQ safety. Not to mention, there are plenty of things you can do on your own to make grilling safer.
Here is our opinion on grills we find BBQ grills on the market, what makes them so great, and some barbecue safety tips you can use no matter which grill you prefer.
Solaire is a family owned business that undoubtedly has safety on their mind when designing and engineering their grills. This is because of their dedication to intentionally finding safer ways to grill.
First of all, it’s important to note that Solaire is known for their infrared burners, which allow outdoor chefs to get a restaurant-worthy sear on their food, but also cook their food in a shorter period of time.
Shorter cooking times keep meat from drying out and puts food in your guests’ bellies faster. However, it also means extremely hot temperatures — literally hundreds of degrees hotter than your regular, conventional grills, which were pretty hot to begin with.
Infrared burners can reach up to 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit, and when coupled with grease, fat, or any kind of juice from food being cooked on a grill, a fire can ignite quickly. What helps in flare-up is because there is no secondary heat element (the heat plate or briquette tray) to collect grease the drippings instantly vaporize.
Another way Solaire has chosen to mitigate this potential problem by changing the traditional design of their cooking grates. Most grills have traditionally round cylindrical grates that cause liquid to drip (sometimes pour) onto the burners below.
When too much liquid hits the burners at once — especially when said liquid is flammable, like grease or fat — a fire can start. In grilling, this is typically called a “flare-up” and isn’t necessarily anything to be overly concerned about.
But when grease pours onto the burner, the flare-up doesn’t have time to extinguish itself before another flare-up begins. Typically, a drop of liquid will get burned up in a matter of seconds — similar to how a drop of water evaporates quickly when it hits a hot pan on the stove.
Solaire addressed this problem by changing the shape of their grates from a round model to a v-shaped model.
By keeping a v-shape in the cooking grates, Solaire creates little wells that prevent liquid from cascading down and overwhelming the burners all at once. Drips are far more easily managed than waterfalls, after all.
This seemingly simple design adjustment is integral for BBQ safety, particularly at such high temperatures.
If flare-ups are a concern for you, or you have historically had trouble with them, Solaire’s grill options could be good solutions.
Summerset is a family owned company company working to prevent flare-ups through grill design innovation. Summerset developed briquette trays rays to spread interior heat more evenly. These vaporize juices better than heat plates alone. They protect the burner from fats and sauces to help extend their life.
Lastly, they minimize flare-up within the grill firebox and keep flames under control without affecting the quality of your cooking.
Briquette Trays are pretty standard on gas grills exactly because of safety reasons. This is why we love them.
Overall, Summerset is an amazing company if you’re looking for a new grill. They offer 7 different lines of grills with 9 different sizes, more than any manufacturer in the industry. This enables them to cover everyone's size and budget. They’re reliable and durable — all manufactured from Commercial Grade Stainless Steel. People have owned these grills for years with very few complaints. And best of all, they have an amazing warranty (lifetime on many components).
Whether you’re looking for a budget friendly grill or a multi-fuel luxury American Made Grills to US Made storage solutions to build into your outdoor kitchen, Summerset will have something perfect for you.
If you’re researching grills — or frankly, have any interest in grills whatsoever — you’ve likely heard of Weber. They’re one of the most trusted brands in the United States, regardless of whether you’re looking for charcoal or gas grills.
In fact, if you’re looking for a charcoal grill, Weber is probably the first brand you think of. Their traditional kettle grill design is simple, elegant, highly functional, and easily portable. Weber has the market cornered there.
Of course, charcoal grills come with their own set of concerns for BBQ safety. You’re literally lighting briquettes on fire using some form of kindling that is specifically intended to light something on fire more easily.
You’re lighting said fire inside a metal chimney and then dumping the charcoal into the kettle grill and laying a cooking grate over the top of it. It may seem unsafe on principle, but in reality, it’s not any more dangerous than using a gas grill.
Speaking of gas grills, Weber also makes a variety of high-end gas grills that are setting their own industry standards for safety. Weber is achieving better safety assurances largely through technology.
The newest Weber grills come with Weber Connect technology, which syncs with an app on your smartphone or tablet. Using the app, you can monitor the temperature of your food while it’s cooking.
Everything else in our lives is connected to our smartphones at this point, so it only makes sense that we’d incorporate cooking into it as well.
If anything, we love the convenience factor — you can be inside getting your sides ready while the steaks cook and you don’t have to worry about them drying out. You’re watching it on your phone.
This feature is guaranteed to make all your party guests green with envy, so be prepared to talk about it. They’re sure to have questions. (And we’re happy to help them.)
If you want to be as safe as possible while grilling, the most important thing you need to do is keep your grill clean. Flare up frequently occur when grease from the drippings sit on the heat dispersing element and then gets reheated and when new grease comes in contact with the old grease a flare-up or even a grease fire can occur.
Charcoal grills are relatively easy, in that you can scrape off the grates (be careful about the stainless steel and wire brushes though) and wipe down the inside of the grill.
While gas grills have a more complicated cleaning process, it’s certainly not anything that can’t be done regularly. And always remember that dirt, grease, and grime are compounding. If you keep up with cleaning, it will always be easier than if you let it go for a long period of time.
Be sure to check your grill’s owner’s manual for specific ways to clean and maintain your grill. The manufacturer’s instructions may be necessary to maintain your warranty, and their helpful tips can extend the life of your grill.
Whether your grill is built-in or freestanding, keeping it covered when it’s not in use is a great way to protect it from harsh weather and small critters.
Oftentimes a simple cover is enough of a deterrent for small animals looking for shelter because it’s difficult to navigate for them. Stainless steel will be tough for them to grip, and the covers are typically snug enough that they keep out unwanted guests.
One common critter that is nearly impossible to stop is spiders. Given their flexibility, dexterity, and (generally) small size, they can fit themselves into tiny crevices undetected. Specifically, spiders are known to get into the venturi tubes.
Venturi tubes are small tubes that combine gas and air. Once mixed, the tubes send the mixture to the burners, which ignites and is used to produce flames.
Venturi tubes sometimes come with little mesh inserts that help keep spiders out. Obviously, they won’t be completely critter-proof, but they do help.
Regardless of whether you have these little mesh inserts or not, you should be aware that the webs spiders spin inside of them can cause problems. The most common issue is gas not getting to the burners properly because the tubes are clogged.
If it’s been a good chunk of time since you used it last — say, in the spring after a long winter — you should open your grill up and clean them out.
We have instructions on how to (properly) clean a gas grill, and you should always double-check with your grill manufacturer’s instructions. As mentioned previously, warranty eligibility could be tied to proper maintenance.
Keeping your grill outside may sound like no-brainer, but desperate times call for desperate measures, and sometimes this leads people to make questionable decisions.
If there are a bunch of people waiting to eat at your house and a sudden thunderstorm hits, you may be tempted to wheel your grill into the garage and cook there. DO NOT... We cannot express enough!
We cannot stress enough just how dangerous indoor grilling is. Not only is it a major fire hazard to use grills that are specifically made for outdoor purposes while indoors, but the carbon monoxide they emit can be deadly.
If your barbecue needs to be moved indoors due to weather, use a grill pan on your stove instead. You may also want to consider investing an in an indoor grill and this way both bases will be covered.
The other alternative is to build an outdoor kitchen with a roof (open on three sides) over your patio. This will allow for proper ventilation for fumes without increasing the risk of fire very much. To be safe, keep your patio furniture far enough away from the grill.
Even the safest grill aficionados have accidents sometimes. Be sure to keep a fire extinguisher close by for emergencies. It’s also a great idea to have a plan among your family members so they all know what to do and where to look for supplies.
Also, remember that water should not be used to put out grease fires. For grease fires, baking soda is best, so keep a box or two of this pantry staple near your fire extinguisher.
One issue that people sometimes have with Kamado-style grills is the fireball. This happens because of the oxygen buildup when the lid is closed, so when they open the lid to put their food on the grates, a fireball can blow out at them so the grill must be "burped." To burp your Egg or Kamado you need to cracking the dome an inch or two before fully opening it. This allows air to slowly enter the grill so you do not have a flashback.
You may be thinking that you have a gas grill, this safety tip doesn’t apply to you — but it does. Fireballs can also happen with gas grills.
A way to avoid this dangerous scenario is to have the lid open when you light it. Doing so allows the gas to escape momentarily. After that, you can shut the lid if you wish, prior to putting your food on the grill.
With a gas grill, you also want to cook with the lid open unless preheating the grill or cooking on super low temperatures. Traditional grilling is fast cooking so, on grills that reach super high temperatures, if you have the lid closed, you run the risk of not only damaging parts but the heat can cause the knobs to get hot and potentially cause injury.
However, you should never leave the grill unattended.
In the end, the safest BBQ grill you could possibly get is the kind you feel the most comfortable with. If you’re a seasoned veteran with charcoal grills, it may be best to stick with what you know.
If you’ve always worked with gas grills, do you really need to learn how to use a charcoal grill all of a sudden?
Of course, it’s up to you. But no matter what you choose, make sure you understand how to properly clean and maintain it.
No one wants to read an owner’s manual, but it’s a good idea to do so when you’re working with an appliance that could turn dangerous when used improperly.
We love providing guidance for our customers. No two people are alike, and that creates a lot of opportunity for unique grill combinations and outdoor kitchen accessories. We’re confident that we can help you, no matter what you’re looking for.
If you’re ready to place an order, or if you have questions, we’d love to hear from you. If you live near our showroom in Hollywood, Florida, feel free to stop in and see us. Otherwise, you can call us at (877)-983-0451 or email us. We look forward to speaking with you soon!by Tracy Hollander