How to Use Propane Grill

how to use a propane grill

Using a propane-powered grill takes the complication and patience out of grilling. Instead, you can hook your barbecue up to a propane tank and see flames instantly. However, for those looking into purchasing a propane grill and those using one for the first time, you should not know how to use a propane grill to minimize risk and injury. 

Below, we’ve compiled a list of steps to take to use a propane grill. We’ve also mentioned how it’s different compared to a standard charcoal grill for those curious about the benefits and differences when choosing between the two.

Take a look below for more information about using a propane grill and get one step close to summer cookout season perfection.  

Steps to Take When Using a Propane Grill


When you go to use your propane grill, you want to ensure your safety and get the best quality cook. Follow these steps for close instructions about installing and using a propane grill.

Install and Prepare Your Tanks

A vital step when using your propane grill, you must install the propane tank correctly. If you don’t hook it up correctly or don’t screw the hose in tightly enough, you risk serious injury to yourself and the equipment.

Propane is highly flammable, so make sure your grill is off before you install the tank too. Once you’ve hooked up the tank, make sure you check the hose and facade for any cracks or potential leaks.  

Before you throw your meat down on the grill, even before you turn the machine on, it would be best if you checked the fuel levels. If you just bought a new, full tank, you’re all set fuel-wise. But, if you borrowed a spare propane tank from another location, you might want to check the fuel levels to ensure you can thoroughly cook your food for the duration of their grill time. 

If you aren’t sure about how much fuel you have concerning your grill time needs, a 20-pound tank typically lasts for around 25-hours.

Starting the Grill

While starting a gas grill is much easier than a charcoal grill, it still requires some specific steps to ensure your safety, such as the following:

Open the Lid

Since propane is highly flammable, it’s essential to lift your grill lid before starting the machine. If you don’t lift the lid, gas will build up within the closed space. 

Open the Propane Tank

Once you’ve got the lid completely open, you can open your propane tank. You’ll need to twist open the knob on the propane tanks’ top, allowing gas to flow through the connecting hose. Keep twisting the knob until you can’t turn it anymore; this means that the tank is completely open and you’re ready to start grilling.

Start the Grill

For those of you with an ignition button, all you have to do when performing the previous steps is hit the button. If you don’t have an ignition button, you can use a long-necked lighter, much like a candle lighter or a long match, to ignite the burners.

Either way, you do turn the grill on, turn the flames up to high and close the lid and let the machine get up to your desired heat level. 

 Clean the Grates

You’re almost ready to start grilling, but you need to clean off the grates first. Do not use your bare hands for this step. Instead, use a grill brush to scrape debris and residue build-up. You can also dab some olive oil on a paper towel and use some tongs to lightly grease the grate to prevent your food from sticking to the grate’s surface.

Start Cooking

Now that you’ve correctly prepared your propane tank and have cleaned the grilling surface, you can finally add your food. With a propane-powered grill, you can use either indirect or direct heat to prepare your foods. Direct heat means that you place your food, preferably burgers, steaks, shrimp, veggies, and more, directly above the heating source. 

Indirect cooking means you grill your food away from the direct burner, off to the side, or above for a slower cook. You would typically use indirect cooking for whole chickens, roasts, or ribs. 

No matter which way you choose to use a propane grill, you should lift the lid during cooking as little as possible. Every time you lift the lid, hot air escapes, and you’ll end up having to cook your food for longer.

Turn off the Grill  

Once you’ve cooked your food to perfection, you can remove it from the grill and set it aside. After you’ve removed all food, you can twist all of your burner knobs to the off position. Then, you can lean down to the propane tank and secure the valve until you can’t turn anymore. Ensuring the tank is completely closed is vital as you don’t want gas leaking out.

Clean-Up Time


As much as you want to dig into your barbecue meal, you should clean the grill off first before all of the residues from your food solidifies and clogs up the grate. Leaving it as-is will only make pre-cleaning longer for you next time you use a propane grill. 

Using your grill brush or piece of aluminum foil, scratch the grate with the grain to knock off any build-up. From there, all you need to do is wait until the grill cools completely before shutting the life and covering the grill back up–if you own a grill cover.

Don’t know how to choose? Check our “Best Small Propane Grill” article

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