Jun 4

How to: Turn on a Gas Grill…Barbecue 101



When I told my husband what I was writing about for this week’s How-to tutorial, he chuckled under his breath. “What are you laughing at?” I asked, hands on my hips and tapping my foot impatiently. Of course, I knew very well why he was so amused. Doing a step-by-step tutorial about turning on a grill sounds a little silly. However, if any of you have the same fears I had five or six years ago, you probably refuse to have anything to do with things labeled as “propane” or “ignition”. Before I learned this easy process, I was certain that one false move would cause me to blow up a city block. So, I always left it up to my husband, which wasn’t terribly convenient when I wanted to get dinner started early. So, I asked him for a lesson and now I am the master of my grill domain – there is no stopping me.

Remember that Get Grillin’ 2011 starts on Monday. Marla of Family Fresh Cooking and I can’t wait to see what appetizer creations you share with us for week one. Remember, it does not have to be an appetizer that you make on the grill. Any backyard barbecue-appropriate recipe will do. We have a fabulous prize lined up, so be sure to enter your recipes anytime next week (see this post for details). Just head to our sites on Monday to enter your recipe.

How to do it:

Disclaimer: I am by no means a barbecue expert, so be sure to refer to the owner’s manual for your grill before use.

Be sure your grill is situated in a well-ventilated area, and open the lid of the grill.

Turn the valve on the propane tank one full turn counter-clockwise.


I used to turn the valve as far as it could go until I learned that enough gas is released with just one rotation. In fact, it is safer to do this. If there is ever a problem, you will be able to turn it off and stop the flow of gas quickly.

Turn the burner control that is closest to the ignition switch to High. Press the ignition switch one to two times to light the burner. If the grill does not light, turn off the burner and the propane. Allow the gas to dissipate for a few minutes before trying again.

Turn the other burner(s) to High. You should be able to hear them light as the flame leaps from one to the other.

How to Grill Collage 2

That’s it! You did it.

Let the grill heat for about 10 minutes, then adjust the heat according to the recipe you are making.

Turning it off:

After removing the food from the grill, turn the heat to High and allow any remaining food bits cook off, about 5 minutes. The only way I remember to turn off the grill (because I’m busy eating) is to set a timer. You might want to do the same.

Turn off the valve first by turning the knob clockwise. By stopping the flow of the propane before turning off the burners, you insure that no gas will be caught in the hoses. Turn off all of the burners. Let the grill cool before closing and covering.

Now there’s no stopping you. So, get out there and get grillin’.

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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Maris(In Good Taste) June 4, 2011 at 2:05 pm

Very seasonally relevant! Safety first!!!


2 claudia lamascolo June 4, 2011 at 2:14 pm

Great Job Dara … I hate starting the grills always been afraid of it and its my hubby job thats the only reprieval I get in cooking is when he grills!


3 Mindy June 4, 2011 at 4:16 pm

I’m so glad you wrote about this! I am the person you spoke of – terrified of starting the grill. Now I know how. Can’t wait to go out and start bbq’ing without the need of my husband.


4 Katrina June 4, 2011 at 11:52 pm

ahahaha this is funny, but I only leant about two years ago! Love this.


5 marla June 5, 2011 at 6:17 am

I have to admit I chuckled for a second too when I read the title of this post. You know what? For years I kept far away from our gas grill. I was scared to death of turning that thing on. I too would wait until someones schedule opened up (my day, husband, etc) before anything would get grillin’.When I have not grilled for a while I still cringe at the thought of blowing up a city block. Thank goodness today I am empowered with the ability to turn on my grill – otherwise hosting a grill event would be nothing less than odd 😉


6 Sally June 5, 2011 at 6:40 am

Sadly, our gas grill had to be retired and my husband insisted on replacing it with charcoal. Um, guess who does the grilling now? Charcoal’s fine, but sometimes you just want to turn it on and cook already.


7 Spicie Foodie June 5, 2011 at 9:27 am

This is a very useful tutorial for me. I am so scared of propane, charcoals, fuel and just grilling. Thank you for all the great tips.


8 anja June 5, 2011 at 9:29 am

good idea and actually really necessary.


9 Kristina @ spabettie June 5, 2011 at 9:43 am

no laughing here, I STILL have never done this – Jason is the griller here! :)


10 Jess June 5, 2011 at 9:48 am

This is so helpful – thanks, as always, for your How-To posts! I still shy away from all recipes grill-related, but posts like this will definitely help fix that.


11 sippitysup June 5, 2011 at 10:05 am

I think this is seasonal and appropriate. GREG


12 Delishhh June 5, 2011 at 10:09 am

I think this is a great tutorial. I am not sure i understand the fear though, maybe because i have been grilling since i was a kid and LOVE IT, i will turn on the grill snow, rain or sun. When i have a craving i really do not care if it snowing outside i will open the grill and put on some kebabs or meat on it – just because it tastes so much better. But great tutorial – you should do one for charcoal now :)


13 shelly (cookies and cups) June 5, 2011 at 10:34 am

great tips!!
and this is coming from someone who singed her eyebrows last year trying to turn on her gas grill 😉


14 Lana @ Never Enough Thyme June 5, 2011 at 11:22 am

Dara – Thanks for writing this! I’ve always been scared of starting the grill. I have visions of the whole thing going up in a huge whoosh of gas and flame. Now maybe I’ll give it a try :-)


15 Barbara | Creative Culinary June 5, 2011 at 11:39 am

OK, I have to chuckle…for all of the women so afraid of turning on the grill…do they fear for their husband’s lives each time they ask him to do it too?

I’ve been single for a long time (OK, tempted to say cause the hubs was starting the grill one night and whoosh he was gone; only wish it had been that simple!) but I’ve become so grill proficient I have guys asking me for tips. I cook on the grill year round so ladies…take Dara’s advice and get your grill on! I NEVER cook anything in the oven that can’t be put on the grill and that includes a turkey at Thanksgiving. Think ease of cleanup and now you know why!


16 Shana June 5, 2011 at 11:39 am

Funny! Are we related? Last year was the first time I finally did the grill myself. I will need to have the hubby repeat the lesson at the begining of each year tho. If I don’t use it, I lose it!!! (Too much 80’s trivia in my head..no room to retain things I’m not using )


17 Traci June 5, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Love to grill. This story reminds me of the time that I came home and my husband had taken his eyebrows off and singed his hair tips trying to light his new grill.


18 A Canadian Foodie June 5, 2011 at 6:12 pm

Very timely, Dara! When I retweeted your original tweet – I actually got back several tweets (four) thanking me for retweeting it as they were all very afraid of their gas grill! I would have never thought to post a post like this and it is clearly necessary, so good for you! And that should place the big smile on your lips instead of hubby’s!


19 Sommer@ASpicyPerspective June 5, 2011 at 7:30 pm

There’s always a need for “How Tos” in my book. Great tips! :)


20 Dan June 7, 2011 at 9:47 am

I remember a colleague losing his eyebrows once :-) He was fine, just traumatized.


21 Drick June 7, 2011 at 4:16 pm

can’t tell you how many times sitting at the table I have jumped up to run outside just because I forgot to turn off the grill – the timer is a great idea…my only problem is remembering nothings in the oven…


22 Lucy@acookandherbooks June 10, 2011 at 11:01 am

Thank you for this primer. My husband will be absolutely stunned when I start the grill. (This post makes me remember middle school yearbook signatures that began “You are a nice gril.”)


23 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) June 10, 2011 at 11:05 am

Lucy, you can do it! Be sure to report back.


24 Nichol June 19, 2011 at 2:27 pm

I love this. I don’t ever use the grill and there are times I want to, and have to bug the hubs to set it up. I just learned recently how to turn on a grill, sad lol.


25 Sheila July 12, 2011 at 1:14 pm

I wish I had seen this earlier. I would have shared it with my mother before she decided to fire up my gas grill. Especially the mention if it didn’t light to turn it off and let the gas dissipate before trying again! She lost a few eyelashes that evening.


26 Tayelor September 21, 2011 at 6:37 pm

Thank you so much! It is September now that I finally have found this article, but I just got the grill turned on for the first time myself!!! Yeay! Now the ribs are cooking away and I can’t wait for next year! Thanks again, and tell your husband that there are some of us that need a little encouragement on even the little things!


27 Megan Houlihan October 16, 2011 at 2:58 pm

Thank you for this! All the grill tutorials I have read assume I know how to actually turn it on first, very helpful!


28 Allen December 31, 2011 at 8:36 pm

As a 28 year old man who has never used a gas grill in his life, I appreciate that you took the time to make this!


29 Crystal January 21, 2012 at 10:15 pm

Thanks for posting this!! I was so clueless without it! haha!!


30 Jhonna May 28, 2012 at 4:48 pm

I did it! Thank you..had no clue :)


31 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) May 29, 2012 at 4:24 pm

I’m so glad! Now there will be no stopping you. :)


32 Rhonda January 22, 2013 at 12:08 pm

Thank you so much for this. Like many of you, I’m afraid I’m going to blow something up. I’ve always relied on the hubby for this but now I’d like to surprise him by grilling something up on Valentines day


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