How to Put Out a Grease Fire on a Grill

Herbie the BBQ King

By Herbie

Grill flare-ups and grease fires are not limited to novice grillers. You can still experience this misfortune even if you are well versed in grilling and use one of the best BBQ grills. Grease fire on the grill ignites due to the sauce from your food dripping into the sear plate and burning instead of evaporating. The flare-up ignites the grease built up in the grease tray.

If a grease fire happens, don’t freak out. You can follow a series of steps to put the fire out without causing further damage. We have detailed these steps in this guide on how to put out a grease fire on a grill. In addition, we have included what to avoid and tips to prevent such fires.

What Causes Grease Fires on Grills?

●     Dirty Grill

Residual grease that has accumulated in the grill can cause a fire. The grease and meat remnants can stick on the grids and ignite when flames flare up.

●     Lack of Attention

Lack of attention when grilling can also cause a fire. Ensure that at any moment, the grease trap isn’t filled up. You should also ensure that the lid is tightly closed to prevent excessive oxygen from entering the grill.

●     Mechanical Problems

Some grease fires are due to mechanical problems such as rusty burners. Such a problem leads to grease buildup and subsequent fire.

●     Proximity to a Flammable Substance

A grease fire can ignite if you leave highly flammable substances nearby. Therefore, clearing your working area of any highly flammable substance is best.

Steps to Putting Out Grease Fires on Grills

Step 1: Close the Lid

Close the lid instantly when you notice the grease fire. Doing so will cut the oxygen supply in the grill and possibly put out the flames if it is small. This applies to charcoal grills since they have vents that you can close to cut the oxygen supply completely.

Gas grills don’t have these vents; hence, you must leave the lid open for the grease to burn out. However, you will have to be ready for incidents like the fire increasing, hence the need for further steps below.

Step 2: Turn off the Grill

Once the fire is controlled, you will then turn off the grill. Turning off applies to gas or electric grills. You must remove the food from a charcoal grill since fat can worsen the grease fire.

Note that you should take safety precautions and wear BBQ gloves. Turning off the grill will cut the supply of heat and will allow you to contain the fire.

Step 3: Douse the Grease Flame

Douse the grill in baking powder and kitchen salt. The baking powder will extinguish the fire by releasing carbon dioxide when it heats. The salt will smother the fire by forming a barrier between the air and the grease fire. Although, it is best to note that you need large quantities of these substances for them to work effectively.

Step 4: Monitor the Fire With the Lid Closed

In this step, you must closely monitor the fire by checking through the vents. It should be out if the dousing step worked. If not, it would be best to get a fire extinguisher.

Step 5: Use a Fire Extinguisher

Class K fire extinguishers are the most suitable for putting out a grease fire on grills. This fire extinguishers class uses wet chemicals readily available in your kitchen.

Class B uses dry chemicals and can also put out the grease fire. Note that you should never use water-based Class A extinguishers. Always read the label on the extinguisher to ascertain the type in your possession.

It’s uncommon for grease fire on grills to get out of control to the extent of needing professional help. However, you should be ready to involve the fire department, especially if using a gas grill.

What You Shouldn’t Do Incase of a Grease Fire on a Grill

●     Pour Water on the Grill

Pouring water on the fire to put it out will worsen it. This is because water doesn’t mix with the grease; hence won’t be effective. In addition, water contains oxygen, and pouring it on the burning grill will fuel the grease fire further.

●     Continue Using the Grill

It would be best if you do not continue using the grill in case of a grease fire. Even after putting the fire out, ensure that you clean the residual grease and every part that can cause a fire. This measure will keep you safe and prevent another fire from igniting.

Tips for Preventing Grease Fires on Grills

●     Keep the Lid Closed as Much as Possible

It’s common to see people opening a grill’s lid to check how the food is cooking. However, this wastes fuel, elongates cooking time, and can lead to a grease fire. The fire will ignite due to the amount of oxygen that gets into the grill when you open it.

●     Reduce the Number of Fats and Oil

The amount of fat in the meat or oil you use can increase the chances of a grease fire. The grease trap will fill up quickly, and you won’t realize it until it’s late. For this reason, it would be best if you trim the meat to reduce the amount of fat and regulate the quantity you use when grilling.

●     Avoid Overheating the Oil

The cooking oil used in grilling should be heated slowly and up to a certain temperature. 600°F is the flashpoint of most cooking oils, and they start to smoke at that temperature. Some, like peanut and soybean oil, have a 450°F smoke point. Therefore, you should have a meat thermometer to know if you exceed the safe temperature to avoid igniting the grease fire.

●     Clean the Grill Regularly

All grills have inbuilt grease pans and trays under their burners and cooking grids. The fires occur when these pans are full. Therefore, removing the pan and cleaning your grill regularly is still the best action. However, you should do so when the grill has cooled to avoid accidental burns.

●     Scrape the Cooking Grids Immediately After You’re Done

Meat and grease dry on the grill grids and can cause flare-ups. These remnants can also harbor harmful bacteria. Therefore, scraping the cooking grids before and after use would be best.

You need to use a grill brush to scrape, although mild soap and a soft piece of cloth can also work. Note that it’s best to scrape when the grill is hot to remove the burnt meat and grease easily.

●     Be Prepared When Grilling

You should also be prepared for flare-ups when grilling, with baking soda among the items to arm yourself with. This substance acts as an extinguisher since it cuts the oxygen supply. However, having a fire extinguisher is also necessary, should the fire become uncontrollable.

Conclusion – How to Put Out a Grease Fire on a Grill

Grease fire on the grill can ruin your grilling experience or spread out to cause damage at worst. It will help if you do not panic in case of such fires when grilling. Instead, it will be best if you are composed and follow the steps you have read here to put out the fire. But before it gets to that, try following the prevention tips we have mentioned. Doing so will ensure that your grilling is perfect and memorable.

Written By

Herbie

Hi there, I'm Greg (also known as Herbie) and like most Aussies enjoy a good BBQ. I want to share with you some tips and recipes, along with gear that I like, to help you with your backyard barbecue and grilling hobbie. Anyway, have a look around and let me know what you think and happy BBQing. Cheers Herbie.

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