Natural gas grills
Cooking with Natural Gas
The backyard get-together with hot dogs and hamburgers can become a gourmet feast-everything from stuffed mushrooms to angel food cake-all cooked on a natural gas grill. And you can do it year-round!
Benefits of a natural gas grill
Natural gas grills make outdoor grilling fun and delicious, and they offer a number of benefits over charcoal grills:
- More convenient. Say goodbye to the hassle of heavy propane tanks. Natural gas grills tap directly into your home's natural gas supply so you never have to deal with empty tanks again.
- More reliable. With a continuous supply of natural gas, you'll never run out of fuel again in the middle of cooking a meal.
- More efficient. You can grill with efficient natural gas for approximately 1/3 of the cost of grilling with propane.
Shopping for a natural gas grill
When shopping for a gas grill, consider quality versus price, features, and service.
- Quality versus price. Gas grills come in a wide range of prices. Be sure to weigh the price of the grill you are buying against the quality you are getting. Buying a higher quality model will cost more at first but it may mean you will never need to buy another grill again rather than having to buy a new lower quality grill every few years.
- Service. A natural gas grill can last for years if it is cared for and maintained properly. Make sure you buy from a company you can trust for service if you need it down the road.
- Reputable company. A natural gas grill is a major appliance. Be sure to buy from a company who you can trust to install it safely and efficiently.
- Word of mouth. Ask your friends and neighbors about their grills and where they purchased them. You can learn a lot from hearing their experiences.
- Features. The most important grill features to look for include handy shelves and racks, easy-to-clean cooking surfaces, dual burners, and split cooking grids.
Lighting your natural gas grill
Follow your owner's manual whenever possible. If unavailable, follow these general guidelines. If your grill has a matchless igniter, just raise the lid, turn on the igniter and it will light your burner in a few seconds. Or:
- Open grill lid (never light burner with lid closed).
- Insert lighted match into lighting hole located at front or side of grill box.
- Turn control knob to HIGH. Burner should light in seconds.
What makes food taste "grilled"?
When you ignite the burner of a natural gas grill, it heats the briquettes (or coals) so, as food cooks, fat and juices drip on the hot briquettes causing flaming ("flare-ups") and smoke. It is this smoke that gives food that special barbecue flavor.
Tips for natural gas grilling
The following are general guidelines. Consult your owner's manual for details.
- Most manufacturers recommend tempering the coals before the first use by heating for 15 to 30 minutes.
- Preheating may be necessary for foods that need searing and quick cooking. Five minutes on HIGH with the cover closed is usually enough. Never leave the grill on HIGH with the cover closed for long periods of time.
- Place food on cooking rack. As food cooks, adjust burner controls and lid position. The cover may be open, closed or propped partially open. As the cover is lowered, the temperature increases. Move food around to use hotter and cooler heat zones.
- Use the warming rack for heating sauces, breads and previously prepared dishes, and to keep cooked food warm.
- There is no "one best way" to grill anything. Experimenting is the key to success in grilling.
- After a few cookouts you'll learn the heat pattern of your particular grill.
- Use hottest areas for fast cooking, cooler areas for slower cooking and "keep warm." Some flaring and smoking enhances flavor and appearance.
- Use your grill not only for grilling and as a rotisserie, but also for roasting, braising, frying, baking and stewing-in foil pans and Dutch ovens (with flameproof handles).
- Cook entire summer meals at one time on your gas grill to use energy wisely. Cooking outside saves energy because there is no additional load on air conditioning.
- Grills allow flexibility in cooking temperatures but will not provide the same precise temperature control as your gas oven. Several factors can affect the heat pattern and speed of cooking on your gas grill:
- wind and air currents
- outdoor temperature
- location of the grill
- amount of fat and juice drippings which cause flare-ups
- preheat time
- To limit flare-ups, select low-fat meats and trim excess fat from around the edges of steaks and chops.
Caring for your natural gas grill
Consult your owner's manual or, if unavailable, do the following:
- Coals are self-cleaning. Leave the burner on HIGH for 10 to 15 minutes after each use, with the lid closed. This will burn off accumulated food residue and drippings. Use tongs to rotate the coals and clean all sides.
- While the cooking rack is still warm, brush with a stiff wire brush or wet nylon scouring pad. When necessary, soak in hot sudsy water and scour with a nylon pad.
- Clean the inside of the grill box occasionally, especially if there is a buildup of grease or ash on the bottom. Heat the grill slightly to soften the grease. Then scrub with hot, sudsy water; rinse and dry thoroughly.
- Periodically wash the outside of the grill box with hot, sudsy water. Rinse and dry thoroughly. Exposure to weather may in time oxidize and lighten black paint; renew color by wiping on a thin film of vegetable oil.
- Occasionally brush the burner with a stiff wire brush. Use wire or pipe cleaner to open any clogged ports. Replace burner in exact original position so it is correctly aligned.
Safety & your natural gas grill
- Keep the grill away from combustible surfaces such as wood siding or deck railings.
- Never use a gas grill in a garage doorway, on an enclosed porch, or under low eaves or overhangs.
- Use oven mitts and avoid wearing loose-fitting clothing.