We’ve all been there, dinner’s is almost ready, and you tell your guests that their minds are about to be blown. You step away for a moment to find your grill has turned into a blazing inferno and dinner is no more. So, what happened, and how can it be avoided?

It’s not you, it’s your grill

First, don’t necessarily blame this fire on your cooking skills. Most likely it was your grill, and not your food that started the blaze.

Most gas grills have a removable drip pan underneath the burner that catch any liquids that come out of your food during the cooking process. If these pans remain neglected they will eventually fill up with flammable fats that become the fuel that ruins your dinner (and your day).

The key to avoiding grease fires

I always recommend that after using your grill, you should always wipe it down and brush off the grill grates. You should also take the extra step to empty your drip pan, or at least check to make sure it hasn’t reached a flammable level. This is your best preventative measure but sometimes it gets missed. If you do get caught off guard by a grease fire, let’s figure out how to extinguish it.

Putting out a grease fire

Grease fires can’t be put out with water due to the nature of physics and chemistry. Since oil floats on water, oil that is on fire also floats on water. However, these flames can easily be smothered with a good layer of baking soda. Baking soda tastes foul, so I recommend removing the food from the grill first. A generous heaping of salt can also be used to smother flames.

Disclaimer: This blog post is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. Please contact your local fire authorities if you’re experiencing a fire.

Grease fires can be avoided with a little grill maintenance, and with some preparation they can be easily extinguished. It’s not uncommon to find a box of baking soda in most fridges today, so why not keep a box handy under your gas grill as well?

Be careful out there and keep on grilling!

Matt worked his first kitchen job in the country of Malta at the age of 15. He has worked as a restaurant Chef in Arizona, Maine, Spain, the UK, Oregon and finally North Idaho. Now the Executive Chef at Wildwood Grilling, he thoroughly enjoys his day job.