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?