THINGS COME APART

Popular Mechanics (South Africa) - - Contents - BY TODD MCLELLAN

NOTES: No one knows the ap­peal of a char­coal grill more than a We­ber afi­cionado, but there’s a rea­son the sto­ried grill-maker also sells gas grills. Af­ter a set-up process that amounts to ‘pick up gas re­fill tank from petrol sta­tion’, on a grill like this one, you get more than ten hours of grilling time. No chim­ney, no char­coals, no de­bate about the mer­its of lighter fluid. Sure, you don’t get the smoky char­coal taste. But you still get grill lines, and the Mail­lard re­ac­tion, and stand­ing out­side and mak­ing con­ver­sa­tion with tongs in one hand and a beer in the other. Plus: Have you heard of Fla­vorizer bars? ( See ‘Meat’, right.) HEAT The first thing you do is check that you’ve got enough gas. In­side the grill’s cab­i­net (6), the gas tank hangs on a spring scale (8). The scale is con­nected to a gauge (7) on the front of the bar­be­cue; press­ing the gauge’s but­ton lights up LEDS to in­di­cate how much fuel is left. (The gauge shows the tank’s weight as a frac­tion of the 12.5 kg weight of a full tank.) As­sum­ing you’ve got enough, you open the valve and the gas, which is liq­uid un­der pres­sure in­side the tank, en­ters the grill’s hose (4) through the reg­u­la­tor (5), de­pres­surises, and be­comes a gas. It then flows through the man­i­fold (13), whose four valves (12) di­rect the gas to the ig­nit­ers (14) for each burner. De­press­ing and turn­ing a burner’s knob (2) ac­ti­vates the ig­niter, whose spark-plug ac­tion ig­nites the gas, so jets of blue flame emerge from the holes of the burner tube (18). MEAT

Close the lid (1) so that the grilling cav­ity can heat up. (A ther­mome­ter (19) on the lid of­fers a tem­per­a­ture read-out, so you’ll know how hot it’s get­ting with­out hav­ing to open it up, which would sac­ri­fice heat.) Once the tem­per­a­ture is where you want it, open the lid. Maybe ad­just the burn­ers to cre­ate zones of di­rect heat and in­di­rect heat. When you’re ready, you throw down some burg­ers, or some chicken, or a big slab of mar­i­nated tri-tip (steak). As the meat cooks, hot grease drips through the cook­ing grate (3), where it hits the Fla­vorizer bars (16). Aside from pro­tect­ing the burn­ers from drips and help­ing to keep the tem­per­a­ture in the cook­box (15) even, the bars are en­gi­neered with a sur­face area and slope to va­por­ise just enough of the grease to add flavour to the food, while fun­nelling the rest to the grease-trap sys­tem. GREASE

Be­low the burn­ers are heat de­flec­tors (17), V-shaped sheets of metal with ports in them. The heat de­flec­tors ra­di­ate heat up­ward into the grill, com­ple­ment­ing the ef­fect of the Fla­vorizer bars, evening out the over­all tem­per­a­ture dis­tri­bu­tion. But the de­flec­tors also help keep the area be­low them cool. This is im­por­tant, be­cause as the grease drips past them, it en­ters the grease tray (10), a porce­lain enamel fun­nel, and seeps into a dis­pos­able drip pan (9), which sits in the catch pan (11). If the heat de­flec­tors fail to keep the grease trap cool and it man­ages to reach the flash point of the grease pool, it could end even the most laid-back of sum­mer bar­be­cues. – Kevin Dupzyk

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