Outdoor grilling is extremely popular, especially in America. In fact, roughly 75 percent of U.S. households are said to own a grill. Though there are several different types of grills on the market, the most common types of grills are gas and charcoal grills. You may have even assembled a grill before after taking it out of the box that you got from your family after Christmas. But if you were quizzed on how a grill actually works, would you pass?
DiSanto Propane, a proud propane supplier for your propane grill at home, believes it is important to know your gas grill inside and out for optimal safety, grilling performance, and making sure that steak comes out just right.
Basic Grill Elements
Though even the simplest gas grill is arguably more complex than your typical charcoal grill, gas grills aren’t too complicated to understand once you have the basics down. Your basic propane grill elements include:
- Grill hood
- Grill body
- Cooking surface
- Gas source (that’s where DiSanto Propane shines)
- Valve regulators
The grill body houses all of the main components of where the grilling action occurs, whereas the hood’s purpose is to cover the cooking surface, in order to trap the heated air inside to keep the internal temperature nice and hot for your grilling needs.
Fueling Your Grill
The propane gas source, a very vital aspect of your grilling experience, is connected to the valve regulators through the main hose. You can control the regulators by turning the knobs on your grill to restrict or allow greater gas access to the burner. Generally, most propane grills have two main burners with a corresponding burner. Each burner has a series of small holes that allows gas to exit through, providing a safety element for your grill.
In order for a grill to ignite properly, three things are required: gas, oxygen, and a spark. Gas is supplied from the propane tank or the natural gas pipeline, and the oxygen, obviously, comes from the air – but where does the spark come from?
Electricity In Action
That’s where the grill starter, or the igniter, comes in. The grill starter is a push-button or rotating knob that creates a tiny spark of electricity to ignite the gas, through a fancy-sounding process known as piezoelectricity. Crystalline materials like quartz or Rochelle salt have this piezoelectric behavior. When pressure is applied to them, a charge separation occurs within the crystal and an extremely high voltage also occurs as a result of this action. Thus, fire! For example, the popping or thudding noise that you commonly hear when you’re trying to start up a grill is the result of a small spring-loaded hammer hitting a crystal and generating thousands of volts across the faces of the crystal itself.
Fun fact: voltage this high as a result of starting a propane grill is actually nearly identical to the voltage that drives a spark plug in a gasoline engine. So, the crystal’s voltage generates a spark large enough to light the gas in the propane grill.
The Actual Flame
After the grill has been properly ignited, the burner is where all of the actual burning occurs. This happens by mixing the gas with oxygen and spreading it out over a large surface area to burn. Additionally, each burner has a pair of electrodes connected to the starter – when the starter’s hammer is tripped, the resulting surge of electricity causes a spark to spread across the electrodes and ignites the gas and oxygen mixture.
Most grills have at least two separate burners to create an evenly heated cooking surface, depending on the size and complexity of your grill. Most propane grills and other types of grills have a top rack to grill items like corn or other vegetables, so make sure to utilize that part of your grill as well.
With propane grills, it’s easy to maintain your desired level of control when it comes to grilling that piece of meat exactly to your liking – all it takes is a simple turn of a knob or dial. Some say that this quality cooking environment produces the best tasting grilled meats, even when compared to other fuel sources like wood or paper – though this grilling debate never ends.
The ease to fire up your propane grill when you’re getting started and extinguishing your grill when you’re finished also means that cleanup is simple and easy. Using natural gases like propane as a fuel source for your prized grill will take your outdoor grilling game to a new level.