Why Does My Propane Grill Smoke So Much? (Easy Fix)

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Summer is the time for some finely-grilled cuisines.

However, propane grills are often hard to handle and can cause a great deal of smoke, prompting people to wonder, ‘why does my propane grill smoke so much’. 

If you are struggling with the same problem but are baffled about the cause, the reasons discussed in this brief guide might help you get to the bottom of the issue. 

Why Does My Propane Grill Smoke So Much?

Grill Element:

The grill element is a crucial part of the whole grilling unit, and needs to be in perfect order.

If this grill element has burned off, the propane grill is considerably likelier to give off smoke.

So, if your propane grill is producing large quantities of smoke without any apparent reason, make sure that your grill element is still in place. 

If the element is excessively chipped, it might be forcing the grill to give off smoke.

In such a situation, you will need to reach out to the grill manufacturer and request a replacement grill element. 

Excessive Grease:

Grills are bound to have grease. However, if the amount of grease exceeds normal limits, it could cause the propane grill to start emitting smoke.

This is because if any grill element is covered in grease, it heats up and will produce smoke. 

In other words, the burning grease might be the reason behind the excessive smoke (Own the Grill has a list of such cleaning chemicals).

Therefore, you need to clean the grill parts as frequently as possible. 

Secondly, when you take the food out from the grill, try keeping the grill open as this helps burn off the grease.

People who do not use their propane grills regularly should still switch it on every few weeks to avoid the accumulation of grease. 

Using the Wrong Cleaning Chemicals:

Speaking of cleaning the grill, it is not just important to do it regularly, but also important to do it using the right chemicals.

However, using chemicals that are too harsh can lead to the production of excessive and even toxic smoke. 

Below are a few reasons that certain chemicals cause the propane grill to smoke:

  • The residue for certain chemicals burns at a similar rate as grease
  • Some chemicals rust and corrode the grill metal, causing excessive smoke and long-term damage
  • Chemical sprays sometimes get trapped inside the burner, and are ignited as soon as the grill is switched on
  • Numerous cleaning chemicals interact negatively with gas flames, leading to the production of toxic smoke
  1. Grill Pan:

Every propane grill comes with a unique grill pan. In order to keep this pan seasoned, people sometimes steer clear of cleaning it.

However, infrequent cleaning of the grill pan leads to the accumulation of grease, which, in turn, can lead to smoke production. 

Hence, you need to keep a check on the grill pan and make sure that it is sufficiently clean.

If your grill pan is at a point where just cleaning will not be enough, you need to get yourself a new pan. 

Insufficient Airflow:

Propane grills have a number of airflow routes, the most common of which is a top or side vent. These vents contain a sliding lid or multiple holes that allow for optimal airflow.

Without adequate airflow, the propane grill will turn excessively smoky and hot. 

In addition, if your grill light is not working properly, it will keep the grill from getting sufficient oxygen.

If the fuel and oxygen do not mix, the resulting flame can be smoky and dull. 

Yet another reason for restricted airflow is if the grill contains too much food. Excessive quantities of food can restrict the vents and, by extension, the flow of air. 

The Coating:

If you have purchased a new grill and the smoke issue is manifesting right after your first use, the coating is almost certainly the culprit.

A new grill tends to produce smoke when used for the first time. 

To remedy this, you should heat your empty propane grill for a few minutes to get rid of the smoke. Doing so will make sure that the smoke does not impact your food. 

Low-Quality Fuel:

Regardless of the type of grill, the source of the fuel plays a key role.

Using low-quality gas will lead to low-quality flames, triggered by an inadequate oxygen-to-fuel ratio.

The fuel quality can be the difference between a smoky and dull flame, and a healthy and clean one. 

Remember that, under the wrong environment, even premium fuel can degrade.

For instance, fuels can become less effective when stored in dry or hot environments.

To prevent this from happening, store the gas in a garage, shed, or any other spot that does not receive direct sunlight.

The coagulation of fuel can damage its potency and, therefore, its ability to produce bright, clean, and reliable flames. 

Besides using a temperature-controlled room to store your fuel, here are a few other measures that you can take:

  • Getting a hygrometer to prevent the rusting of your fuel tanks, which can often occur with excessive humidity
  • Monitoring and timely replacing the connection hoses 
  • Opting for high-end fuel since it creates less smoke, performs better, and lasts longer

Food Residues:

If you do not clean your propane grill after cooking food on it, the food remains present on the plate can lead to the production of smoke.

This is because, if new food is placed on the grill while the old residues are still present, these older residues will also start burning and create smoke.

For this reason, you should carefully and thoroughly clean your grill before placing new food on it. 

Wrapping Up

Noticing your propane grill producing excessive smoke can be a cause of concern.

However, thankfully, the cause behind this problem is generally benign and easily addressable. 

To learn more about grills and how to use them, please feel free to check out some of the other blogs on our website.