An outdoor gas grill has become an essential piece of home furnishings and is the most popular form of consumer outdoor cookers that are sold. Unless you have the funds to purchase a Professional gas grill then you will likely run through a couple of these throughout your career as the in-house pit master. Knowing how they work may help you find a part you need to keep an older but workable grill running or if you are in the market for a new one you can at least know what the sales person is talking about as they try to sell you that two thousand dollar stainless grill with the beer keg built in.
Parts of an Outdoor Gas Grill
Different barbecue gas grills may have additional parts or features but these are the very basic and are on the most simple of gas outdoor grills.
- gas tank or fuel source
- hoses or pipes to deliver fuel
- valve regulators
- burner(s) Usually two at a minimum
- cooking surface
How a Gas Grill Works
The gas tank or direct pipes if you have a natural gas grill connect to the grill itself via a set of flexible hoses or pipes. The valve regulators control how much gas is delivered to the burners. The amount of gas to the burners will control how much flame the grill has and therefore how much heat is delivered. The burners are made of aluminum, steel or even cast brass and have holes through which the gas escapes.
You need three things to get a gas grill to burning; gas, oxygen and a spark to ignite. The burner is the part that mixes the gas and oxygen. The starter or igniter is where the spark comes from to light the gas. The mechanism to generate the spark comes from a small hammer hitting a material that contains piezoelectric qualities.
Fuels for Gas Grills
There are basically two types of outdoor grill gas; liquid propane (LP) and natural gas. Propane comes in a tank or canister and natural gas is delivered to your house via a pipe or a line.
Liquid propane has a neat property in that when it is compressed it turns into a liquid and reverts back to a gas when decompressed. This allows us to store propane as a liquid in a tank. As a gas you would not be able to store very much in a tank the size our outdoor grills take. Natural gas does not have this property and is delivered by a line.
The heat output of a gas grill is measured in BTU or British Thermal Units. A BTU is the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit. An equal portion of natural gas compared to LP has approximately a little less than half the energy output or BTU as LP gas.
Normally if you are planning on having a grill that is built in or will be in a permanent setting you may research a natural gas grill otherwise be looking at the more portable LP gas grills.
There are a multitude of outdoor grills gas model makers in the marketplace. Some have been around for years starting with manufacturing charcoal grills and graduating to gas once the technology caught up and there are new innovative companies coming up with new ways to cook a steak. Do your research and figure out what barbecue gas grill to buy before hitting the showroom. You will save time and money.