BBQ 101: Understanding Flash-Back Fires and Grease Fires

Cuisinart® Gourmet Barbecues undergo a significant amount of testing, are CSA certified, and approved for sale in Canada. As with all gas-fired products certain safeguards must be followed. It is the consumer’s responsibility to properly assemble, install, operate and care for the appliance. Care, maintenance, and safety instructions are provided to assist you in using your barbecue properly.

Remember: All Fires are avoidable. Any occurrence of a Flash-Back Fire or Grease Fire is not the responsibility of the manufacturer or the retailer, and as such there is a cost associated with replacing parts. Please contact the Customer Care Hotline at 1-800-309-3452 for more information.


Characteristics of a Flash Fire

  • A fire burning outside of the burner box
  • Usually visible behind or under the control panel
  • May cause damage to control panel, control knobs, and depending on fire, could damage the hose and regulator and/or manifold.
  • Burners may burn with large yellow flames
  • Burners may not light
  • Hot control knobs could indicate flare-up conditions are starting

Causes of a Flash Fire

  • Blockage within the burner venturi tube
  • Blockages in burner interior
  • Blockages at valve gas jet
  • Burner venturi not seated correctly over valve gas jet

Most Common Blockage Causing a Flash Fire

Spiders and/ or small insects are attracted to the smell and taste of propane /natural gas. As such, they frequently spin webs, build nests, and lay eggs in the barbecues venture tube, obstructing the flow of gas to the burner. The backed up gas can ignite in the venturi tube, behind the control panel. This is termed a Flash-Back and can damage your barbecue and cause personal injury or property damage.

MAINTENANCE: You can avoid a Flash Fire by performing a routine safety and maintenance check

  • Remove your Double Burners from your barbecue. Use a flexible Venturi tube cleaning brush to clean out the inside of the burner.
  • Shake any loose debris out of the burner, through the gas inlet.
  • Clean out the burner port holes to ensure no blockages, using a paper clip.
  • Check also that the valve gas jets are clean
  • Re-install the burner. Check to ensure that the valve enters the burner when installing. Replace burner and mounting screws to complete installation.

If a Flash Fire has occurred, perform the following safety checks:

  1. Leak test all connections
  2. Remove control panel to inspect manifold for damages and leaks
  3. Remove burners to check for blockages – perform burner safety and maintenance checks


Characteristics of a Grease Fire

  • A fire burning inside the BBQ burner box- may become uncontrollable if not monitored
  • Usually accompanied by high flames, a lot of smoke and black soot
  • May cause charring on the interior of BBQ lid, lid side panels (inside and outside), may damage temperature gauge, cause brownish colouring on stainless steel lids and soot and ash build up on cooking grates.

What Causes a Grease Fire?

  • Build up of grease on key functional parts such as heat distribution plates and cooking grates
  • Build up of grease within Easy clean grease management system
  • Cooking on high temperatures instead of using lower temperatures
  • Cooking with the lid open on very high temperatures
  • Cooking excessively salty and/or fatty meats
  • Drippings from marinades

How to avoid grease fires:

  1. Clean grill housing and lid
  2. Remove and clean all parts including grease management system, cooking grates, burners, and heat distribution plates.
  3. Perform leak test and safety check on all connections
  4. Re-assemble all parts removed and ensure proper placement
  5. Always preheat grill
  6. Always turn barbecue control knobs to OFF position and close barbecue hood to control grease fire
  7. Always avoid flare ups and grease fires by remove excess fat from meats

General BBQ Safety Tips

  • DO NOT operate a BBQ under any overhanging or unprotected construction
  • DO NOT operate near glass windows or aluminum siding
  • DO NOT operate indoors (not in a garage). BBQ is for outdoor use only
  • DO NOT leave the BBQ unattended
  • DO NOT allow children or pets to play anywhere near the BBQ
  • DO NOT operate near combustible material. It must be operated in a well ventilated area at least 3 meters (10 feet) from any dwelling or building; minimum clearance of 76 cm (30 inches) to adjacent combustible materials
  • DO NOT use any flammable product during cleaning
  • DO NOT leak test using an open flame
  • DO NOT throw water on a grease fire
  • DO make sure that you followed all safety checks, procedures and instructions before operating the BBQ
  • DO read the entire owner’s manual, care and maintenance and/or grilling guide to familiarize yourself with the unit.
  • DO follow care and maintenance instructions to avoid any nasty surprises
  • DO follow proper leak test procedures and safety checks prior to lighting your grill to ensure the unit is operating safely
  • DO protect your family and home by performing regular cleaning and maintenance of key BBQ parts including burners, flame tamers, and cleaning of the grease tray.
  • DO keep baking soda handy to extinguish a fire