"Understanding Your Home"   by  Building Inspector Mark Visser
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Barbecues and Grills. Portable barbecues

WARNING
- NEVER grill inside your home, not even in an open garage.
- NEVER use gasoline to start a charcoal grill.
- NEVER add lighter fluid to burning or hot coals to prevent a serious flare up.
- NEVER dispose of charcoal before they are cold
- NEVER barbecue close to buildings, brush and overhanging trees. Vinyl siding is highly combustible and has a low melting point. On more than one occasion during my years as a building inspector have I seen melted or deformed vinyl siding caused by the heat of a barbecue.





Maintenance
Keep the rocks as clean as possible. You can tell if there is too much grease on the lava rocks if you encounter flare-ups. After you are finished cooking turn the burner on high to burn off any excess grease. If you do a lot of barbecuing replace the lava rocks once a year.

TIP
Keep the BBQ clean because left over charcoal ashes mixed with water will rust out the bottom. Rusty grill pans are the main reason for replacing the old barbecue.

TIP
Buy your next barbecue from a retailer where you can come back to for parts, service and expert advice. Yes, big box stores can probably sell for less money, but the staff's knowledge about the product goes often as far as the printed text on the box!


Barbecues and Grills. Portable barbecues


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Barbecues and Grills
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Barbecue and Grills. Portable barbecues
Barbecuing is done outdoors and, for some unknown reason, it seems to be a guy thing.
I don't think it is possible to go through summer without having a barbecue. Somehow the two seem to be inseparable. Just like today, we used to have barbecue parties decades ago. The idea of having a barbecue party has not changed, only the way it is done has changed. Back then, every couple would come with their own folding lawn chair, small round barbecue, charcoal, starter fuel, meat, spices, cutlery, plates and a large garbage bag. As the barbecues were fired up we would wander around and, initially, exchange opinions on the best way to start a fire and prepare the meat, followed by talking about just about every other topic under the sun. After the meal was finished we would pull up the chairs around the barbecues, with the now red hot charcoals, to keep away the evening chills. Over time the humble small round barbecue on a tripod has evolved into something that looks more and more like an outdoor kitchen.
Today there is a large variety of barbecue types to choose from. They basically can be placed in these categories:
Charcoal barbecues
Yes, charcoal barbecues are more work than gas grills. But if you are willing to spend the extra time you end up with food that is more flavoured than that prepared on an gas or electric barbecue.
Gas barbecues, natural gas or propane
Natural gas or propane BBQ's come with lava rocks. The rocks are heated by the gas flames and cook much like charcoal. Many choose a gas fired barbecue because they are more convenient and cleaner compared to charcoal grills.
Electric barbecues
This type of grill is gaining in popularity because the grill can be set to a specific temperature and the heat is evenly distributed. This feature may keep meat from being burned as well as from being under cooked. You never will run out of propane or charcoal again! However, many electric grill owners claim to miss the grill flavour from food exposed to smoke.
Portable gas or charcoal barbecues
These are ideal for backyards with very limited space as well as for taking down to the beach, when camping or travelling. If it is not against municipal or condo policies you could use even one of these portable grills on your balcony.
How to start a charcoal fire
Start early if because it takes up to 45 min. for charcoal to reach cooking temperatures. Stack the charcoal in the shape of a pyramid and douse the pile with barbecue starter fluid or lighter fluid and let it soak in for a few minutes before lighting the coals. Spread out the charcoal evenly as soon as grey ash is starting to form which is a sign that the right cooking temperature has been reached.
You also can use charcoal starters If you are not comfortable using lighter fluid. You just light the end of the stick, made from paraffin saturated press wood material, and push it underneath the stack of charcoal. They burn for about 10 minutes, long enough to light up the charcoal.







Three burner propane barbecue with two end tables and lower shelf. The extra propane tank may come in handy!


Table charcoal barbecue. Grill height can be adjusted. They are ideal for for taking down to the beach, when camping or travelling as well as for backyards with limited space
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