Grill The Burgers…Not The Grill!

Last month, we had Little Boy Beagle’s second birthday party.  It was a pretty small affair with only about a dozen people.

The plan was to grill hamburgers and hot dogs.

I was obsessed with making sure the grill was ready.  My parents had given us an older Weber gas grill.  While it was older in age, the thing is rock solid.  No rust and everything in really good working order.

We had already grilled out a few times before the party, so I was pretty confident that the grill worked fine.  My biggest worry was making sure that it was clean (easy enough: light it, wait until it’s warm enough, and use the brush to clean the grates) and that we had enough gas.  I was worried about the tank, so I enlisted my father-in-law to bring over a spare tank that I knew he had.

I figured I had everything covered.

When the time came, I lit the grill, closed it up and let it warm up.

Fast forward a few minutes later when I happened to look over at the grill and find it….on fire.  Actually the area underneath where the knobs that control the three burners had caught, and I noticed fire coming from underneath one of the knobs.  Not good.

“Fire in the hole” I yelled.  (OK, not really, but I’ve always wanted to do that).  What really happened is that I ran over to the grill and quickly shut off the tank.

After letting it cool off, we experimented and found that the problem was from the first burner (there are three).  After doing a little testing, we were able to successfully get the burgers and dogs cooked (thanks, Dad) by using the other two burners.

Turns out the problem was: Spiders.

Yes, spiders.

Apparently, they like the smell of propane, and they build little webs inside the gas lines.  When you light the grill, Mr./Mrs. Spider burns up immediately but his/her webs don’t and disrupt the flow of propane.  In my case, this was causing some of the propane to backflow into and eventually catch fire.

Not cool, spiders!

The fix wasn’t too bad, though.  It took about an hour.  I disconnected the gas line, then disconnected the feeder line to the three burners.  I ran a pipe cleaner through each of the lines.  After re-attaching, I could instantly tell that things were going to be better.  The clogged lines had left the flames pretty inconsistent, flaming between blue and yellow.  After clearing them out, the flames were a consistent blue color.

The next time we grilled, everything was great.  Except that I ran out of gas. Of course. 🙂

How often do you grill in the summer?  Have you ever had spiders or anything else cause a grill malfunction?

10 thoughts on “Grill The Burgers…Not The Grill!”

  1. Spiders are a big problem. We have a newer Weber (built to LAST) and use natural gas. When the gas installation guy came by he told us that if we weren't going to use it in the late fall that we should cap the gas line to keep the spiders out. We kept using it – I hope we don't have spiders. I should clean the line in the fall just to be sure.

  2. My husband loves to grill. We have a Weber charcoal grill and a CadioPaddy propane grill. We haven't had problems with spiders clogging the tubes, but my husband keeps his grills sparkling clean (he's just that way 😉 ) It's good that you realized what the problem was and were able to fix it for your next grilling experience!

  3. Haha! I love to prepare things for the grill and to eat grilled items, but usually the grilling is all hubby's job. Never had an experience with spiders on the grill – that would give me the heeby jeebies!

  4. Looks like we have something in common, I love the grill and I absolutely hate spiders!

    I love getting the grill out in the summer, one of my favourite things to do.

    Thanks for sharing, I love the humour in your post.

  5. Wow–what a crazy problem! I would never have thought that. Poor spiders:).

    We live in Houston and Paul grills pretty much year round (except perhaps November, December, January). He grills about once a week.

  6. ewww.. gross. We grill out all the time. Shoot that reminds me I was going to make baked potatoes tonight. Too late now. I should have read this earlier.

  7. Thanks to all for the great comments. I forgot how much spiders give people the willies! I am not a huge fan of them but they don't send me to another room if I see one. I never saw the spiders in question as I would suppose that they got burnt up!

  8. I never thought of spiders mucking everything up! We use our propane grill at least 2-3 times a week so hopefully spiders won't have time to get suicidal. 🙂

  9. We love to grill, and I cannot count how many times we have run out of propane in the middle of cooking something.

    I would have started screaming if I saw fire coming from the grill where it shouldn't. Then I would have screamed more when I realized it was coming from sauteed spiders.

    Glad it all worked out!

  10. After having a couple BBQs where I ran out of propane I finally learned to always keep two propane tanks handy. (Genius, huh?)

    I've had problems with spiders too, by the way. You would think they could put a little screen in the line that keeps the buggers out.

    All the best,

    Len Penzo dot Com

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