Propane Tailgate Grilling Safety Tips


Propane gas grills are one of the most popular outdoor appliances used today, especially at tailgates. They are increasingly replacing charcoal grills because of the little clean up involved. Operating your grill safely, whether it be in your backyard or at your tailgate, will ensure that you are safe of harm, as well as your food being properly prepared.

Grilling Safely With Propane

Propane gas grilling is an outdoor activity and should not be something enjoyed indoors. Although some people choose to grill in their garage, this is not advisable. The ideal location for grilling is in a well ventilated area outdoors, such as a patio, driveway or similar non-combustible surface open to fresh air and away from a building. The three basic stages most grill users follow include lighting the grill, cooking (grilling) and the shut down process. Each stage is outlined below. Remember to follow the manufacturers instructions when using propane gas grills or any appliances. The manufacturers instructions will be the ones you will need to ultimately follow.

Lighting the Grill

Lighting a propane gas grill is very straightforward, but doesn’t need to be done routinely each time the grill is used. Whether the grill comes with an automatic ignition or if the user lights the grill manually, the following steps should be taken to ensure there isn’t a flash fire or even explosive ignition associated with collected propane vapors.

  1. Be sure that the burner control knobs are closed when in the “off” position.
  2. Prior to anything else, open the grill lid or cover. This will ensure that once the flow starts there is no gas vapors are released into a closed space. Keeping the grill cover allows the propane gas vapors to vent to the atmosphere with the breeze.
  3. To start the flow of gas open the propane cylinder valve slowly. The burner knobs should not be opened before opening the service valve on the propane bottle.
  4. Start the ignition source. Then open the burner knobs closest to the ignition source. If you light the grill manually, keep the flame next to the burner producing the flow of gas.
  5. The remaining burners can be opened in sequence starting with the burners closest to the burner that is already lit. You are now ready to grill with gas.


After the grill has been started appropriately and the burners are operating, the lid can be closed. Letting the grill heat up before putting anything on it is a good idea because it helps burn off any residual grease from previous gas use. Staying close to the grill is also a good idea because flare-ups can occur. This will also minimize your chance of the burning the food. Other tips include:

  • Keep children and pets away from the grill.
  • Minimize the chance of the grill accidentally tipping over by securing the cylinder.
  • The liquid propane level is indicated by cylinders with frost or condensation on the side. This is normal.

Shutting Down

Once the grilling is complete and the food is ready to be served, it is a good idea to leave the grill on for a short time period to burn off any left-over meant or grease. This will also help keep the burner openings clear for the next time you grill. But remember to shut the propane off. Setting a timer will help. Closing the cylinder service valve before turning the burner grill knobs off will ensure that there is no gas between the cylinder and the burners when the grill is not in use. Allow the grill to cool adequately before putting the protective cover or lid back on it.


This is just a few helpful safety tips for grilling this tailgating season. Always be sure to do your research and follow the manufacturers instructions before using a propane grill.

Source: Propane 101

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