I’ve got an old Weber gas grill that has served me well for a decade.  I’ve had to replace the cast iron grates a couple of times because, it seems, their covers, while keeping the grill look pretty, trap moisture inside.  There was one time when I had friends over and the grill didn’t get up to cooking temperature but it was just one time.

Until recently.  When it started happening more often.  There a couple of times when the burgers just sat on the cooking grate looking grey and annoyed rather than actually cooking.  The temp probe showed the interior temp only got to something like 250F or maybe 300F if the wind was light.  I thought maybe it was because I was low on gas so I refilled the propane tank and the next time it worked fine.  Problem solved, I thought.  But then it happened again with the full tank.  Something weird is going on.

It’s a tough thing to Google, but I did eventually find exactly what I was looking for at Weber’s site.  It turns out that you can end up with the grill in “bypass mode” where the regulator limits the amount of gas that can get out of the tank.  The mode is intended as a protection if something has gone wrong with the grill.  But you can inadvertently trigger bypass mode if you don’t turn on the gas the right way.  For some reason, I had apparently been turning on the gas the right way for years and recently, have been doing it the wrong way about half the time!  Or maybe there’s something about the valves and tank and regulator that make the setup more sensitive to bypass mode as they get older.

So the simple solution is to wait a couple of seconds after opening the valve on the propane tank before you turn on any burners.  That’s it.  I did that as a test today and sure enough, the grill ramped right up to 500F.

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