How to Use a Gas BBQ

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Some people would argue there's no better way to cook than on a barbecue grill. The charbroiled quality of meats and vegetables cooked on a grill over a flame is tough to beat. Barbecues are typically powered by propane or natural gas and many have charcoal briquettes located under the grill.

Gas barbecues are ideal because they provide even, easily adjustable heat. Regardless of the exact kind of gas barbecue you use, you need to use it correctly.

Open the barbecue lid, then turn on the gas. Depending on your barbecue's fuel system, the gas may come from a tank below the barbecue or from a hose plugged into your home's natural gas line. Light the barbecue by pressing the lighter button or inserting a long-neck lighter into the hole adjacent to the gas burner.

Scrape the barbecue grill with a metal scraper to remove any built-up charcoal or food residue. This step is easiest once the barbecue is up to temperature, roughly 149 to 204 degrees Celsius.

Open the lid and place the food you plan to cook on the grill. Close the lid quickly, because every time it's open, you lose heat inside the barbecue. Check the food periodically for completeness and flare-ups. If the food contains plenty of fat, such as lamb, pork or sausages, flare-ups will be common. Some gas barbecues are built with triangular-shaped flare-up guards that will limit some of the flare-ups. Still, keep a squeeze bottle full of water on hand to douse any flare-ups before they burn your food.

Turn the food only minimally. For example, every time you flip a hamburger, it splashes grease. Though a flare-up will result, the bigger problem is that you're losing the moisture in the meat. If you turn it too many times, the food will end up tasting dry. Meats should typically be turned just once, allowing them to cook on both sides.

Cook certain fat-laden foods over indirect heat to avoid flare-ups. Even with a flare-up protector and water bottle, some meat may burn because of flare-ups. If this is the case, turn off the burner on one side of the barbecue and place the meat on this side. Keep the other burner turned on.

Inspect your food to ensure it is cooking evenly. Gas barbecues are favourable to strictly charcoal grills because the gas should come out of the burners evenly, creating an evenly heated cooking surface. If a grill is not making even heat, it may be blocked and require cleaning with a bottle brush.