Grilling this 4th of July? A couple (mechanical) tips:

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by vrDrew, Jul 2, 2017.

  1. vrDrew, Jul 2, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2017

    vrDrew macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2010
    Location:
    Midlife, Midwest
    #1
    Check that your propane tank has enough fuel in it. Nothing more frustrating than having to make an unscheduled trip to the hardware store while your guests are getting hungry. If you grill over charcoal, mesquite, or driftwood - make sure you have an ample supply on hand.

    Do NOT use wire brushes to clean accumulated crud off your grill surface immediately before using. Tiny bits of metal wire can snap off, adhere to the grill, and could get transferred to your burgers, steaks, and chicken breasts. If swallowed they can result in serious internal injury. (You can use wire brushes during extended maintenance, but be sure to pressure-wash the grill thoroughly afterwards.)

    Don't rely on the cheap hood mounted temperature gauge to check the doneness of your food. Spend $10-20 on a digital instant-read probe thermometer. Temperature, not the color of juices (or recipe grilling times) is the only way to ensure your meat is properly cooked.

    If you have the time this Sunday, invest a little of it getting your gas grill in shape to perform at its peak: Remove the metal heat shields, and remove the burner tubes. A few minutes with some 000 steel wool will clear any corrosion and dirt from the flame holes and venturi.

    Lastly, on gas grills: Everyone I know who has one of those things complains that the electronic ignitor stops working after a year or two. They try replacing the AA battery, to no avail. Then they spend $25 replacing the electronic ignition module. Which also doesn't fix the problem. Nine times out of ten the problem is in the switch on the front of the grill. Water gets inside it and rusts the contacts. Take the switch apart, clean the contacts with some emery cloth or a small file, and spray it with a little WD40. If you have access to a digital electronic multimeter (and what self-respecting computer geek doesn't?) you can use the continuity tester to diagnose the circuit to make sure those tasty volts are going where they ought to. (That continuity tester will come in handy for those few instances where the problem is someplace else in the circuit
     
  2. Stefan johansson macrumors 65816

    Stefan johansson

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2017
    Location:
    Sweden
    #2
    Propane? Well,it's ok for some,but I use a simpler method. A large concrete ring,about 75 cm diameter,standing on one of its open ends,and a homemade steel grating on top,then I light a fire inside the ring (birch or pinewood works best).
    When the fire turned into good glowing charcoal,it's time to put on the grating,and start grill.
    Of course,this thingy is not moveable,but with a large enough garden,that's not a problem.
     
  3. vrDrew thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2010
    Location:
    Midlife, Midwest
    #3
    Most woods produce almost as much CO2 per million BTU when burned as anthracite coal. Burning propane produces about half as much. And wood burning also produces far more particulate pollution than propane.

    I think of it as "God's Gas"

     
  4. Stefan johansson macrumors 65816

    Stefan johansson

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2017
    Location:
    Sweden
    #4
    You got a point,but there is two problems,burning propane and buying a propane grill is more expensive,as the concrete ring is cheap,and the wood I use comes from my own backyard.
    The other thing is,that a normal bushfire here,mostly caused by thunderstorms,generate same pollution in two days that about 5000 of those grills produce under normal use in a year or more,and that's in an area with only 100 people or so.
    And,I got up with a third problem... how much pollution does the truck carrying your propane to the store cause? Compared to the pollution caused by my Ardennes horse dragging some firewood less than 100 yards?
    Even if I use my tractor,it causes less pollution.
     
  5. vrDrew thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2010
    Location:
    Midlife, Midwest
    #5
    I grew up in Africa, and have enjoyed many pleasant braaivleis cooked on wood coals under the Southern stars. It's a truly magical experience.

    The problem comes when you start getting tens or hundreds of thousands of people living in close proximity. Imagine what it would look like if every family in Stockholm started cooking their dinners over open wood fires. You'd not only soon deforest the entire region, but you'd fill the air with smoke and stink. And that sort of thing is a huge problem in cities in the developing world like Lagos, Mumbai, and Dhaka. It's not just cars and trucks making that smog: it's millions of people cooking over open fires.

    Los Angeles, which suffered from some of the worst air-quality in North America, found that simply banning the sale of volatile charcoal lighter fluid (but not the charcoal itself) made a significant, measurable difference.

    There is no doubt there is a definite aesthetic, culinary, and cultural uniqueness about cooking over wood or charcoal. Myself, and millions of other North American barbecue fans, have turned to gas, partly out of convenience, and partly out of concern for our environment.
     
  6. Stefan johansson macrumors 65816

    Stefan johansson

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2017
    Location:
    Sweden
    #6
    I can see your point,if you live in places like Los Angeles,but I live in a low populated area,in a small European country,with a total (including major cities) of about 10 million people in the entire country. Soo,if I have to go 35 kilometres away to buy propane gas,how much pollution will that cause? As I get both meat and firewood from my own property,withouth the need of driving a motor vehicle somewhere to buy it,I guess it's a bit different. Soo,imagine a Friday night,no propane gas left,and I have to drive a total of 70 kilometres with a diesel Range Rover just to buy propane,instead of just starting a small chainsaw and cut up a few pieces of wood in my backyard... Guess we all see the difference.
     
  7. vrDrew thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2010
    Location:
    Midlife, Midwest
    #7
    It is entirely appropriate for a person such as yourself, living in a rural and low-populated area to use firewood. And, as you say, transportation of heavy gas cylinders over long distances tends to reduce whatever ecological benefits might accrue to propane cooking.

    I will say that there is something of a culinary-cultural divide among people who barbecue over gas, and those who swear that only hardwood charcoal and Mesquite wood chips can give meat the desired flavor. These people may have some evidence to back up their claims. But I would push back with the observation that cooking with gas is, for most people, cheaper, faster, and considerably more convenient. I've eaten great meat cooked over a charcoal or wood fire. But I've also waited around hungry for (literally) hours while the cook struggled to get his or her fire to the necessary state for effective cooking. And I do have to observe that buying bagged charcoal is considerably more costly (and inconvenient) than using gas. Even more so if one has their barbecue plumbed to take advantage of the natural gas that is a standard utility in many modern houses.
     
  8. Stefan johansson macrumors 65816

    Stefan johansson

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2017
    Location:
    Sweden
    #8
    I can understand that for people living in cities,but for me,propane or other cooking gas cost money and extra effort to get,as driving to town and back for a propane cylinder takes about 30 American dollars in diesel fuel,and nearly 2 hours time,for me,firewood for the grill cost me 15 minutes work with a chainsaw.
    And as I don't need to buy the meat either,I save money and environment. (A roe deer steak cost me the price of one 6.5 x 55 MM rifle round).
     
  9. Huntn macrumors G5

    Huntn

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Location:
    The Misty Mountains
    #9
    Slightly late check-in on this subject, but we had steaks and hotdogs grilled on a (charcoal) Weber Smokey Joe along with corn on the cob.

    We went to our neaborhood's central location to watch the fireworks, but no one bothered to tell the populace that although this was the usual spot, they would be shot up from a nearby golf course. We got to watch some distant fireworks though the trees way over there. About 10 thousand people were also pissed! :eek:
     

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