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How to Troubleshoot an Outdoor Grill

Grilling Temperature

Step 1

Open all lid vents or side grill vents on charcoal grills to increase the temperature. Wide open vents mean more oxygen reaches the heat source, which means higher grilling temperatures. Narrow vents restrict air flow for decreasing grilling temperatures. In gas grills, turn the burner knobs to high or low settings depending on the desired grilling temperature.

Step 2

Add wet hardwood smoking chips to the lit charcoal if temperatures exceed desired levels. Wet wood causes a nearly immediate temperature reduction and smoke, which helps keep flames and heat low and adds flavor to the meat.

Step 3

Open the grill lids and move the meat to high warming racks if the grills continue to exceed desired temperatures.

Uneven Cooking Issues

Step 1

Lift the cooking grate of a charcoal grill with long-handled pliers. Use a long metal grill fork or stoker to push all lit coals to one side of the coal grate.

Step 2

Place a foil drip pan containing about 2 cups of water on the coal-free side of the charcoal grate.

Step 3

Return the cooking grate to its place, and put the meat on the side of the grate above the drip pan. This takes the meat away from direct heat and allows for longer, more even cooking at lower temperatures. For indirect grilling in two-burner gas grills, ignite one gas burner and leave the other burner off. Place the meat above the unlit burner.

Reducing Flame Flareups

Step 1

Scrub grill grates thoroughly with a long-handled wire brush before and after all uses to remove excess grease and other debris.

Step 2

Empty all grease traps or trays and use fresh drip pans every grilling session.

Step 3

Keep meat, especially fatty varieties, on a cooler side of the grill away from direct flames, and keep lids closed while grilling. Closing the lid keeps a controlled level of air and oxygen in the chamber, which keeps the flames low and controllable.

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