Can You Use a Grill After a Grease Fire?
You just had a grease fire on your barbecue, and now you’re wondering whether or not you can use it again.
So your grill is blackened and has a burnt, greasy smell to it. Is it still safe to use? You sure aren’t the only one wondering this, especially since it could be a health hazard if the grill is still dirty.
If your question is, “Can you use a grill after a grease fire?” the short answer is yes. But only if you clean it properly and don’t allow food debris to sit on the cooking grate for too long.
So, keep reading to find out how to clean a grill after a grease fire and how to prevent the fire from happening again.
Can You Use a Grill After a Grease Fire?
Yes, your grill can be used again after a grease fire if the flame is controlled and the grill is thoroughly cleaned. The key is to ensure that all the grease and ash are long gone from the grill before you use it again.
So how do you prevent grease fires from happening? The best way is to keep your grill clean and free of debris, so remember to clean up any debris after each cook to avoid problems later.
How does a grease fire start on a grill?
Grease fires start on a grill when oil or other fats become hot enough to ignite and burn. They can happen anywhere there is grease buildup, like on your grill grates, grease tray, or firebox (or any other place where grease is stored). If you have a lot of grease collecting in these areas, then it will be more likely for an ignition source to occur.
To explain this in more detail:
A fire only requires three things to start: oxygen, heat, and fuel.
When you’re grilling, you get oxygen from the air around you. You’ve got fuel—the grease! The only thing left is heat, which you’re giving the oil (or fat), which eventually gets hot enough that the fuel begins to burn alongside the oxygen.
How To Put Out A Grease Fire On The Grill?
To put out a grease fire on the grill, use a dry chemical fire extinguisher if you have one, or smother it with baking soda or kosher salt. Be careful not to use water on a grease fire, or the flame may spread.
1. Fire extinguishers are your best friends.
If you have one nearby, use it immediately to douse the fire and keep it from spreading.
Fire extinguishers are widely available in hardware stores, supermarkets, and online. One thing to remember is that it must be a dry chemical fire extinguisher.
Here is a video from Assistant Chief David Whiting of the Comprehensive Burn Center demonstrating how to put out a grease fire with a fire extinguisher:
2. Baking soda or kosher salt also works
If you don’t have an extinguisher on hand, you can do it with the kitchen ingredients around your house.
As I mentioned above, there are three elements that contribute to fire formation: heat, oxygen, and fuel. Therefore, removing oxygen, one of the three elements, will help extinguish the fire.
In this situation, baking soda, or kosher salt, is useful since it helps move the oxygen away and reduce the flame. All you have to do is sprinkle the soda or salt on top of the flames, and it will put them out.
Note that this method works best on small grease fires; if the fire is large, you should call 911 or the local fire department.
Side note: Don’t try to use water on a grease fire.
The reason is that water is heavier than oil, so the water sinks into the oil that is already on fire.
The grease heats up the water to such a degree that it boils, creating steam under and around existing flames and making them spread more quickly.
This is a horrible scenario because now, one fire has become many.
How to clean the grill after a grease fire
To clean the grill after a grease, here are 5 steps you can take:
- 1. Turn off the grill
- 2. Empty the drip pan
- 3. Remove the ashes properly
- 4. Clean the grill grates
- 5. Clean the grill’s interior
Let’s take a look at each step in detail.
1. Turn off the power
Turning off the power will prevent any further damage or injuries from occurring.
Turn off the propane tank if you are cooking on a gas grill. If you’re using an electric grill, unplug its power cord before cleaning it.
2. Empty the drip pan
Use a glove made of heat-resistant material to remove the drip pan from your grill. You can also use paper towels or other similar items if you don’t have a glove handy.
Once the drip pan is out, empty the grease into a container for disposal.
Remember that if there is too much grease in the grip pan, it will catch fire if the fire spreads to the drip pan, so you should empty the drip pan after 2-3 uses.
3. Remove the ashes properly
Use a stiff brush or broom to swipe off as much ash as possible from around the burners and inside the grill itself.
4. Clean the grill grates
First, Use a grill scraper or a grill brush to scrape away any remaining residue that is stuck on your cooking grates.
Second, soak your grill grates in hot soapy water for at least ten minutes before scrubbing them with steel wool or a stiff brush.
Steel wool is good because it won’t scratch the grill’s surface; it’ll just get rid of the rust and make sure there’s no more buildup in the future.
Third, rinse your grates thoroughly with warm water before drying them off completely. You want to avoid any remaining moisture because it will quickly develop rust.
Here is a detailed step-by-step tutorial on cleaning and preventing rust on grill grates.
5. Clean the grill’s interior
Turn your grill on with an open flame at a temperature of around 350°F to clean the interior.
This procedure will aid in the removal of any remaining food particles from the grill. Allow it to burn for 15 minutes before turning off the grill.
How to prevent a grease fire
In addition to being a severe fire hazard, a grease fire can also cause significant damage to your grill and backyard. It’s important to know how to prevent a grease fire from occurring.
Below are some tips to help you prevent a grease fire.
- Clean your grill regularly to minimize buildup
- Use proper cooking techniques to avoid overheating the grease or oil in your grill (e.g., don’t leave food in the same spot on the grill for too long).
- Always keep a fire extinguisher nearby when you’re grilling.
- Make sure that your smoke alarms are working properly.
- Never overheat oil or grease
- Trim excess fat from meat before grilling
- Don’t move a flaming grill
- Turn off the gas if it gets out of control.
- Don’t leave your grill unattended.
- When your food is done, immediately place it in the warming rack.
Hopefully, this article has shed some light on using a grill after grease fires, the best ways to avoid them, and which methods are most effective at extinguishing them when they happen.
But the most important lesson here is always to keep your grill clean and well-maintained.
This will help prevent grease fires from occurring in the first place. And if you do find yourself faced with a grease fire, make sure to act quickly and use the proper tools before it’s too late.