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Preventing flare-ups on your BBQ grill

If you’re planning on using your BBQ grill this summer, you should be aware of all the ins and outs of the risks associated with cooking. One of the risks you should be aware of is a flare-up. In this article, we look at flare-ups and how to prevent them. 

What is a flare-up?

A flare-up is a burst of flames that occurs on the BBQ. It can be caused by different things, but mainly a result of excess fat, high sugar content, and a build-up of grease. These flames can cause issues with your cooking results, but more importantly can pose a health and safety risk.  

Prevent flare-ups with general maintenance

Like with most things, we recommend ensuring any cleaning and maintenance is up-to-date to minimise any problems. This means scrubbing areas clean and removing any dirt. We suggest always checking that your BBQ is clean from any leftover grease or food debris best lighting the touch paper on the next barbeque. This is because old burnt on grease can cause flare-ups during cooking. You should also consider the positioning of the BBQ so it has plenty of ventilation to prevent excess smoke from forming in one place. 


Prevent flare-ups with cooking practices

To prevent flare-ups, you can make certain that you prepare your food in a way that reduces the risk of flames. If you’re cooking meat, trim the fat before cooking, as the cooking fat melt, drip and easily flare up.  

When choosing marinades or sauces, avoid those with higher sugar content as the sugar increases the chance of flames. If possible, pat down any marinated food to remove excess moisture. This prevents flare-ups as excess moisture may drip. 

Try to keep food spaced out on the cooking surface in order to reduce 'hot spots’ where a concentration of food could lead to excessive fat dripping over a single area. This high concentration of fat dripping also increases the chances of flare-up.   


Prevent flare-ups with cooking techniques

You can prevent flare-ups by adjusting the cooking technique you use. One way of doing this is to use indirect heat or grilling. This is where you position the food away from the direct heating area to reduce the risk of a flame. By using this method the cooking would be slower, however, it would be more controlled.  

We also recommend using a drip tray or pan to catch any grease or dripping whilst cooking. Some BBQs come with these attached, or they can be purchased separately. Drip trays prevent the grease from falling into the BBQ and causing a flare-up. 


What to do in the event of a flare-up

Whilst we can do everything we can to prevent a flare-up, it is still possible that it can happen. In the scenario that a flare-up occurs, adjust the grill temperature and move food away until the flare-up diminishes. Sometimes it is best to choose a BBQ with a larger surface and additional upper racks which allows you to easily move food away from the flames. Also we’d also recommend as good safety practise to have a fire extinguisher nearby for those ”just in case” moments. 


You can prevent flare-ups and enjoy your BBQ safely by using our simple suggestions. Remember to look after your BBQ, take care when cooking, and use the above techniques and tips to minimise the possibility of a flare-up. 

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