Category Archives: Grills and Accessories

Propane Tank Safety

Propane Tank Safety

Propane Tank Regulations, Safety and Cooking Times

If you have a propane tank that was made before September 30, 1998 you might be in for a bit of a surprise the next time you go to have it refilled. As of April 1st, 2002 all new cylinders must be equipped with an Overfill Prevention Device (OPD). Also you can’t get your old tank filled if it doesn’t have this new valve. Don’t worry, though, there are about 40 million obsolete cylinders out there now.

Every year it is estimated that there are 600 fires or explosions caused by overfilled propane cylinders. To eliminate this problem the National Fire Prevention Agency recommended to the Consumer Product Safety Commission that they require the OPD be installed on all propane tanks. So after years, here we are, scrambling to replace obsolete propane cylinders. This ruling applies to all propane cylinders from 4 to 40 pounds.

The OPD is a special valve that has a float inside the tank that will close the valve when the tank is 80% full. It won’t measure how much propane is in the tank, but it is supposed to keep it from being overfilled. An overfilled propane tank can explode violently because of physical damage or exposure to moderate heat. Now, while the risk is relatively low, it is real.

So, how do you know if you tank needs to be replaced? The new propane cylinders have a triangle shaped valve knob. Older models had a five-prong, circular knob. If you have the triangle knob, then you’re fine. Otherwise you need to get a new tank. Of course, you’ll ask, why can’t you just replace the valve? Any tank older then 12 years is considered too old to be used. And for those in the between years, the cost of replacing the valve is going to be about the same as exchanging the whole cylinder.

The cheapest way to exchange your tank is through a service like Blue Rhino or AmeriGas. These services will exchange your empty, obsolete tank with a new, filled tank for about $20. A new tank can cost about $25 to $30. Old cylinders should be taken to a dealer or recycling center. Your local government can probably tell you where to take it. Some dealers might charge you a fee to take your old cylinder. Find someone who will take it for nothing. Or better yet, try on of the exchange services. You might also want to check with local hardware stores. Some stores are offering to replace you tank for you (at a fee of course).

So, if you have one of the affected cylinders, make some calls and get it replaced before your next cookout. You don’t want to be in the middle of a roast or turkey and run out of gas.

Safety tips to reduce the risk of fire or explosion with gas grills:

  • Check grill hoses for cracking, brittleness, holes, and leaks. Make sure there are no sharp bends in the hose or tubing.
  • Move gas hoses as far away as possible from hot surfaces and dripping hot grease.
  • Always keep propane gas containers upright.
  • Never store a spare gas container under or near the grill or indoors.
  • Never store or use flammable liquids, like gasoline, near the grill.
  • Never keep a filled container in a hot car or car trunk. Heat will cause the gas pressure to increase, which may open the relief valve and allow gas to escape.
  • Make sure your spark igniter is consistently generating a spark to create a flame and burn the propane gas. If the flame is not visible, the heavier-than-air propane gas may be escaping and could explode.
  • Never bring the propane tank into the house.


Approximate Cooking Times for different size propane tanks

  • 1 lb. Disposable bottle = Cooking time = approx 2 hours
  • 5 lb. Refillable tank = Cooking time = approx 10 hours
  • 11 lb. Refillable tank = Cooking time = approx 22 hours
  • 20 lb. Refillable tank = Cooking time = approx 40 hours

Tailgating Supplies

Weekend Tailgater Grill

A Few Necessities Make the Difference

It’s football season again, and time for tailgating! Tailgating supplies vary enormously from vehicle to vehicle, and they can include anything from team logo flags and banners to portable bean bag games and decorative area rugs. Most items considered essential for tailgating could probably stay at home, but three of the most important pieces of equipment that should never be forgotten include the portable shade canopy, folding chairs or other basic seating options, and a portable grill.

Portable shade canopies not only protect you and your tailgating supplies from the sun’s harsh UV rays, they also help to create your own outdoor space. With so many people joining in on the tailgating fun, your own personal space can be easily encroached upon by tailgating neighbors. A shade canopy offers a welcoming place to party with fellow tailgaters, but it also establishes boundaries within which you can comfortably set up your tailgating supplies and enjoy the day. Portable shade canopies are easy to put up, fast to take down, and can be stored conveniently with your other tailgating supplies in the back of your vehicle or at home. If you drive an SUV or truck, the most ideal instant shade canopy for tailgating is one that attaches to the roof of your vehicle. Clips or Velcro tabs attach the shade canopy to one side of your vehicle’s roof rack, while the other side of the canopy is held up with support legs. But, when it comes down to it, any kind of portable shade canopy will do the job.

Seating options for tailgating come in all shapes and sizes, but what’s important is that it’s portable. A folding sports couch or folding butterfly chairs with cup holders and head rests offer comfort and convenience, but any kind of folding chairs will suffice. The key is finding seating options that are not only comfortable for you, but that will also fit easily into the back of your vehicle with the rest of your tailgating supplies. If you have room, you may consider packing an extra folding chair or two in your car or truck in case you want to have seating ready for fellow tailgaters.

Food and drinks are another necessary addition to your tailgating supplies, but unless you plan to serve only cold, picnic-style foods, you’ll need to bring along a portable grill to prepare your meal and snacks. A number of portable grills are available for tailgating, and choosing the right one depends only on your situation. Do you have a surface, like a table, on which a portable grill can be placed when it’s time to grill those steaks or hamburgers? If so, then any tabletop portable grill would work. If you don’t have access to an appropriate table-high surface for cooking, then a portable grill with full-sized folding legs is a good choice. The most ideal type of portable grill for tailgating, though, attaches to the back of your vehicle and stays there during transport and grilling. Known as the Margaritaville Tailgating Grill, this portable grill comes with a steel swing arm that attaches to any standard receiving hitch. The swing arm locks when the vehicle is in motion, but when it’s time to light the grill, the swing arm can be extended out, keeping the heat and mess away from your vehicle. Lock the swing arm in place before driving home, and the portable grill never has to touch the inside of your car or truck.


The goal of tailgating, whether or not you ever go into the stadium to see the game, is to celebrate your team and its potential victory. Being prepared for the game with the proper tailgating supplies means that you can focus entirely on the experience of the day rather than on what you left behind at home. Any number of items can be included in your list of tailgating supplies, but without a shade canopy, comfortable seating, and a portable grill, your tailgating experience is sure to be a drag.

Cooking Up Gift Ideas That Appeal to Your Grill Master

Grill Master Gift Basket

The Perfect Grill Gift Is a Matter of Preference

Does your loved one insist upon cooking out on the grill at all times of the year, even on the coldest winter day? Is that person in your life obsessed with grilling everything from appetizers to desserts? Does your loved one’s kitchen oven need to be dusted of cobwebs? If you answered yes to at least one of these three questions, you are probably in the midst of a die-hard Grill Master.

When holidays and special occasions roll around, it’s natural to want to find that “just right” gift for your Grill Master. Grill-related gifts abound, though, so knowing a little about your own Grill Master’s preferences will make choosing a gift much easier.

Light Up the Night

Grill Masters who love to cook out all year long have to contend with darkness at the dinner hour in winter. A solar grill light is a useful gift that allows outdoor chefs to see clearly what’s happening on the grill. Equipped with a mounting clamp and flexible neck, a solar grill light can be attached to just about any convenient place on or near the grill and adjusted to meet the chef’s ideal lighting requirements. A solar grill light is also an environmentally friendly gift that is popular with energy-conscious homeowners because it requires no electricity to operate. The grill light’s solar cells must be exposed to at least a few hours of direct sunlight during the day so that it can effectively illuminate the grill surface after dark. The solar grill light is a versatile gift that can also be used on tables, fences, umbrellas, or under the hood of a car.

Support the Team

Every Grill Master knows that covering a grill when it isn’t in use is a vital part of protecting the grill from harsh weather conditions and prolonging its life. If it’s time to replace the existing grill cover, then an ideal gift would be a cover that also helps your outdoor chef show support for a favorite team. Grill Masters who are avid sports lovers, too, will appreciate grill covers with team logos displayed prominently on the front. Grill covers can display logos for favorite college teams, Major League Baseball teams, or National Football League teams. Combining two passions in one — grilling and sports — gives team logo grill covers double appeal.

Mix It Up

Grill Masters who enjoy working with a variety of tools and experimenting with flavors would most likely appreciate a gift basket filled with grilling tools, marinades, spice rubs, and other grill accessories. It is hard to go wrong with gift baskets because they can be customized to match the tastes and preferences of the recipient. Many gift baskets already made exclusively for grilling enthusiasts contain a fun combination of practical and exotic items that would appeal to most outdoor chefs, so taking the time to put a gift basket together on your own would not be necessary.

Overall, the key to choosing the best grill-related gifts for holidays and special occasions is to appeal to your Grill Master’s personality and preferences. No matter what time of year it is, true Grill Masters will appreciate a carefully selected gift that allows them to expand their grilling capabilities and venture into new and delicious territory.

Portable Grills Are a Hot Item for Tailgating and Home

Portable HotSpot Yakatori Charcoal Grill

What do you get when you mix fresh air and freshly grilled food? Arguably, you get the tastiest meal available. But what if it’s mealtime while you’re on the road, on vacation, or simply out and about? Lugging around the full-size gas grill or charcoal grill is certainly not a practical option. Even so, just because you are away from home doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your own deliciously grilled delicacies. With today’s portable grills, “eating out” takes on an entirely new meaning.

Portable grills, also known as tabletop grills, are becoming increasingly popular as grill quality and features improve. Whether you are camping in the woods, tailgating at a football game, boating on the lake, or just out for the day on a family picnic, a portable grill can be a welcome addition to your standard gear. Like their full-size cousins, portable grills are available in gas, charcoal, and even infrared varieties. They heat up quickly and provide you with delicious food no matter where you are.

Portable grills can offer a wide variety of features, depending on your needs. For example, while some portable grills come only with the standard grated surface, perfect for grilling hamburgers, bratwurst, or chicken, others feature a number of different grill surfaces, allowing you to choose the proper surface for the food. In addition to the standard grated surface, a portable grill may come with a grill plate, a skillet, and/or a lid that doubles as a wok. Some grills can serve as a camp stove, too, on which a kettle or coffee pot can be placed for boiling water or brewing coffee.

As the name suggests, portable grills are smaller than full-size grills and are easy to transport. Most of these grills have legs that either fold down or can be removed for travel. In addition, portable grills often come with a sturdy carrying bag, making it even easier to bring the grill along. Though smaller in size, a portable grill can still cook a decent amount of food on a single surface.

Perhaps surprisingly, one place where portable grills can be found more and more is not on the road, but on the back patio. Owning a full-size grill is not an option for many apartment and condo residents who may only have access to a small outdoor area. Even when more outdoor living space is available, some home owners prefer the versatility of a portable grill over the full-size option. Portable grills are often less expensive to purchase, are easier to clean, and can be stored out of view when not in use. Considering the many advantages of today’s portable grills, it is easy to see why they have become an increasingly popular addition to life on the road as well as at home.