I’m very old fashioned when it comes to barbecues: I would never consider buying a gas barbecue as it feels like cheating to me. But I could soon be in a minority: according to recent figures, gas barbecue sales are set to overtake charcoal. Apparently people are moving over because of convenience, better control of heat, and fewer complaints from neighbours.
We’ve written before about safe barbecuing, but this has focused on conventional fuel. So, with the hope that this rotten summer may take a turn for the better soon, here is some vital advice for ensuring a safe gas barbecue.
Perhaps the most important advice is to have your gas barbecue serviced every year, as you would with a gas boiler. In addition, UK Fire Resources recommends the following:
- Make sure the tap is turned off before changing the gas cylinder.
- Change cylinders outdoors if possible or in a well-ventilated area.
- If you suspect a leak to the cylinder or pipe work, brush soapy water around the joints and watch for bubbles – tighten to fix but do not overtighten.
- After cooking, turn off the gas cylinder before turning off at the controls to ensure any residual gas in the pipe work is used up.
Some of the advice we’ve given before for safe barbecue also applies, which includes:
- Ensure the barbecue is on a flat site, away from sheds, trees and shrubs.
- Keep children and pets away from the cooking area.
- Never leave a barbecue unattended.
- Keep a bucket of water or sand nearby for emergencies.
- Ensure the barbecue is cool before moving it.
But I’ll never be persuaded: I’m still going to stick to charcoal.