Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
All the answers to all your questions about safely operating a GrillGun: a high power torch for charcoal starting
Q – What is the heat output of the GrillGun in BTUs?
A – Upwards of 400,000 BTUs (that’s really hot), The completely blue flame indicates that the fuel is completely burning and every BTU of propane energy is being fully burned.
Q – Will I burn the outside finish coating on my black powder coated charcoal grill?
A – Yep, if you soak the inside of the grill with extreme heat, it will burn the finish on the outside right off. If you want to protect your external finish, aim the flame only onto the charcoal and the grill plates it is sitting on. Some grills make this easy because the charcoal is loaded onto a ‘caddy’ of sorts, so that it can be raised or lowered relative to the food grill grates. Alternatively, you could light the charcoal outside of the grill, like in a shovel or pan that can tolerate the heat, and then pour the burning charcoal into the grill when ready.
Q – What will the GrillGun’s heat do to the finish of my stainless steel grill?
A – It can and will discolor it if you get it too hot, just like what happens if you let the fire inside any active grill get out of control. However, it’s a lot harder to discolor a stainless steel grill than to burn off the finish of a powder coated grill. Be careful and keep the flame pointed towards the charcoal that you want to light and do not overheat the rest of the grill.
Q – Will it hurt the finish of my black painted grill?
A – Probably not, unless again you just try to burn it. Some charcoal grill paints can withstand 1,200 degrees Farenheit, and you really have to work at it to burn get the cooker that hot.
Q – I see in your video, how you just light the charcoal through the grill grates, is that how you recommend doing it?
A – Only if you have heavy steel grill wires or cast metal grill grates like I have in my video. Small chrome plated wire grates look good when new, but in use the finish will quickly burn off due to the heat of the charcoal fire. The GrillGun will make this happen faster. If you are concerned about keeping your chrome finish in good condition as long as possible, then you should remove the wire grill grate from covering the charcoal before lighting the charcoal. After you’ve lit the charcoal, then put the grate back on and then briefly blaze it with the GrillGun to sterilize it, burn off the grease and excess food from your last grilling, wire brush it clean, and then throw on the food and commence cooking.
Q – Can I use the GrillGun on my ceramic cooker (green, black, whatever color egg)?
A – Yes, It’s hard to get ceramic too hot, but still be careful with wire grill grates and treat them with respect as above. Charcoal will destroy the finish in one cooking, but there is no reason to get them so hot that they turn orange and droop (unless you just want to have fun melting your charcoal grill… I’m just saying.
Q – Why can’t I use a regular weed torch to light my grill instead of buying your fancy GrillGun?
A – You can, if you want to look like a dork as I did for more than a decade of outdoor grilling, before I had the bright idea of making something that really looks cool and is ergonomically balanced and easy to use. Some weed torches put out the same heat (or more) but not as focused or as fuel-efficiently as the GrillGun will. The air fuel mixture is very lean, approximately 50-70% less fuel usage than a comparable weed torch, which is why you are able use the GrillGun with a 1lb propane can and get so much use out it before you exhaust the fuel can.
Q – I can see a lot of YouTube videos of people using high power torches to light a grill. Why should I buy yours?
A – Even though you can go on YouTube and see plenty of examples of weed torches being used to light grills, it’s never become a “thing”. If that is what you want, knock yourself out. But may I suggest that you do it instead with a torch designed for the task. You’ll be astonished how well it works.
Q – When I’m lighting my charcoal, my charcoal glows red but doesn’t turn gray when I’m lighting the grill, like I’m used to seeing?
A – The gray color is the ash from burnt charcoal. In time while burning, the charcoal gets a coating of ash on the the surface all around it, because of the ash from the charcoal that has already burned. While lighting the charcoal, the torch blows away the ash and leaves the raw charcoal exposed wherever it is lit. The charcoal will slowly turn gray as it continues to burn.
Q – How many times can I light my grill before I use up a new 1lb bottle of fuel?
A – Depending upon how much time you waste showing off and messing around shooting the flame into the air to impress your friends. You should get three full, “two minute” burns. You can light your charcoal grill much faster than two minutes that so I personally average over 6 lightings. Here’s the deal though, it’s time to get a little technical. The propane in the 1lb bottle expands so fast coming out at such a high velocity, that it cools down the canister (bottle) and causes it to lose pressure, thereby reducing the velocity of fuel flow. Around 2 minutes into the burn, you will see a noticeable fall off in pressure and the bottle will be freezing cold. As soon as you quit letting gas out, and take the bottle back inside the house, the bottle will slowly warm back up to the ambient temperature and you’re off and running again for another 2 minute burn. So if you need prolonged burns with the GrillGun, swap out propane bottles allowing the used cans to warm up and be re-usable again.
Q – So if cold canisters don’t have much pressure, can I use the GrillGun in the winter?
A – Yes, but for shorter spurts, Keep your propane bottles warm indoors at room temp and you’ll have no problems.
Q – Why did I get this eight foot adapter hose in the package with my GrillGun?
A – I cook so often on my grill that prefer to keep my torch with my grill hanging on a hook by the ring on the top of my GrillGun. Since it never leaves that spot, I have it hooked up to a 20lb propane canister and it’s always ready to use. A 20lb bottle has enough volume and pressure to run the gun for more than 20 minutes straight (even in the winter), so I don’t ever bring anything inside and my GrillGun is always at the ready. I use my charcoal grill year round and it still is cooking food inside three minutes from the time I walk outside to prepare the grill to the time I put my food on… I repeat: 3 minutes!
Q – Can change the fitting on the adapter hose and run the GrillGun on the natural gas that I have at my house?
A – No. Not that natural gas won’t burn the same way that propane will, but rather that the pressure of the natural gas lines in your house it too low to create a high velocity fuel stream out of the gas nozzle of GrillGun. Your home has a very high volume of natural gas that flows to your gas appliances, but there really in no pressure to speak of on the line.
Q – Are there any government regulations keeping me from using my GrillGun at home or at campgrounds?
A – Nope, not unless there is a burn ban going on. The GrillGun is not a flamethrower, so is not regulated. We have had high powered weed torches around for decades and the lobbyist haven’t shut them down yet, so these won’t be any different. (Pssst. GrillGuns are not guns… they just look like them, just like paintball guns, Airsoft guns, Nerf gun, water guns, cap guns, etc.)
Q – If you keep your GrillGun by you grill, what do you do to light your fireplaces, chimineas, campfires, bonfires, trash burner, camping grill or campfire?
A – I have two GrillGuns, because I like them. However, it’s simple to disconnect the GrillGun that I keep bye the grill and use it elsewhere, but I just like to have two so I don’t ever have to go looking for where I put it when I want to light up my charcoal grill.
Q – Why are there two circles in the bottle stand of different sizes?
A – One is for the short/fat Bernzomatic or Coleman fuel bottles and the other is for the myriad 3″ fuel bottles meant for other kinds of portable hand torches.
Q – Will the grill gun work with my MAP Propane fuel canisters?
A – Yes, and I wanted you to have a place in your wire stand to set either kind of bottle.
Q – How do you light the GrillGun, when I turn on the gas and pull the trigger nothing happens other than the gas is coming out and not burning?
A – This is an important safety feature, so pay attention. You must barely have any fuel flowing to light it. Crack open the gas valve (red knob) so that only a small amount of fuel is flowing in order to light it. Then, when you pull the trigger and the gun will light. You then adjust the flame as you want is with the knob or leave it set to a lower setting and use the handle squeeze trigger to pulse the gun to maximum fuel flow. If it doesn’t light, it is probably because you have too much gas flowing, and you need to turn it down even more.
Q – Safety is very important to me, what safety features are built into the GrillGun and stand.
A – When using a torch, you can’t be too careful. The GrillGun is a tool, a torch, and this one is a powerful one. Always use it outside in open air settings and get used to how to operate it before you try to burn something. There are three safety designs: 1) The gun should only light when the fuel flow is at the lowest possible flow from the gas valve. This way you won’t have a sudden powerful, unexpected burst of flame coming out of the fire bell. 2) The handle trigger has a pinky-finger “unlock” lever which must be depressed down towards the bottom of the gun in order to squeeze the handle which gives you that burst of high velocity gas flow. 3) You also never set a recently used GrillGun down in a manner that the fire bell is laying on anything flammable. When using the 1lb propane bottle, you can set the whole torch and propane bottle into the wire stand where it will stand upright. If you are using the GrillGun with the fuel hose, you can either hang it on a hook attached to your grill or lay it down in a manner that the fire bell is held off the surface by laying across the wire stand, or on something else that won’t be damaged by the hot fire bell.
Q – Should I disconnect an put away the GrillGun when not in use?
A – The GrillGun is designed to be easy to disconnect and reconnect from and to its fuel source. If you stow it away in safe keeping, it will work fine the next time you connect and use it. Likewise, if you keep it connected to your fuel and right by the grill, it too will work fine the next time you decide to use it. Your biggest concern should be safety. Anytime you leave a torch ready to use by anyone who happens by, you have an inherent safety risk. Just be sure it is cooled down before you stow it away.
Q – Can I refill disposable propane bottles or do I need to just pitch them in the trash?
A – There are a large number of disposable and refillable bottle refill kits and adapters for 20lb propane tanks on the Internet for sale. I don’t want to persuade you either way. Read about the available refill options and kits, then make your own mind up about whether or not you want to take the time to refill 1lb bottles and concern yourself with the safety risks.
Q – What about using the GrillGun on campground grills or backyard fireplaces.
A – The GrillGun will be your best friend in the future if you go camping or picnicking and need to use those nasty park freestanding grills or grates over open fire pits. Who knows what has been on those grills that you are about to put your food onto. You need to bring them up to high temperature to burn off and scrape off all that debris before putting your food on them, so the GrillGun is perfect for the task. With the GrillGun, all you do is put your charcoal or wood in the grill-stand and then light the charcoal and sterilize the grill all the same time. Time to be cooking dinner is measured in minutes rather than tens of minutes.
Q – Can I use any 1lb bottle of propane fuel with my GrillGun?
A – Pretty much. If it is propane and screws onto the gas valve, then it will burn.
Q – Is there any special advice when trying to light either wood, briquettes or lump charcoal in a grill or fireplace?
A – Yes, be careful. They will all burn and they have different starting needs. Small kindling in wood lights quicker and takes less heat to get started. Briquettes light quickly and take high heat just fine. Lump charcoal and some wood emit lots of sparks when lighting with a torch, so you need to be careful not to be too close to the fire with the sparks jump off.
Q – Are there any safety concerns as far a getting burned when lighting a grill with a torch?
A – Yes many. Be sure not to aim the gun straight into a curved surface where the heat will blow back and burn you. Always stand back from the fire that you are trying to start and move in slowly, getting a feel as to what the GrillGun will do that you are trying to create your fire. For instance, lump charcoal sparks a lot when being torched, compared to briquettes, but both light easily with the GrillGun, you just need to approach your Grill or fire starting with a sense of caution. Better safe than sorry.
Q – Why does my GrillGun always blow out when I move it inside my Egg cooker or other deep dish grill
A – The GrillGun is a torch and it needs oxygen to burn, When you burn up all the air inside a cooker and starve it of oxygen to mix and burn with the fuel, the torch will go out. Keep the GrillGun pulled back away from the fire enough to let it get some air and you will be happy.
Q – How long before the spark igniter burns up like it does in most torches?
A – It will never burn up if you use it correctly. Light the grill gun by pulling the finger trigger as described above and then release the trigger. The unique design of the the GrillGun’s sparker is the rotating spark igniter in the fire bell. When you pull the trigger, a gas diverter rotates into the air-fuel mixture and peels off enough gas to light easily with low gas flow. The spark ignites the gas without being in the flame so it never gets hot and burns up by being exposed directly to the flame. When you release the trigger the diverter rotates back out of the fuel flow so it doesn’t remain in the fire or obscure the high velocity fuel flow.
Q – How many time will the sparker light the GrillGun before it fails?
A – The piezoelectric spark igniter is rated for 28,000 sparks which will take you awhile if you sit there just pulling the trigger. Needless to say, it’s not likely to ever fail, but if it does, you can order a replacement one, as well as replacement instructions from GrillBlazer.com
Q – Are there any user serviceable parts?
A – The entire sparking mechanism is designed not to ever fail so the only thing that might go wrong is that you could get debris in the nozzle from not taking care to keep the gas connector out of the dirt when disconnected from its fuel source. If this happens, the gas nozzle is replaceable with a small nozzle replacement kit that you can order from GrillBlazer.com
Q Can I light my Chiminea with the GrillGun?
A Yes of course! You can either spend time building up a small fire with newspaper and kindling, or you can just put some logs in there and hose it down with the GrillGun. Be sure to be careful with new clay Chimineas to not put too much heat in them before they have been properly seasoned. You should light several fires starting with small fires and increasingly getting them hotter before you go all out and light one with high heat. New clay Chimineas that have not yet been seasoned are prone to cracking, so you need to be careful and not get them blazing hot right away. You can still light a new Chiminea with the grill gun, you just have to turn it down.
Q – The fuel flows from the GrillGun even though the valve is shut off, when I pull the handle trigger. Is this normal?
A – Yes. The handle squeeze trigger bypasses the valve to get instant high velocity fuel flow when you want it. When using the GrillGun, you will either light it and adjust the fuel flow to be what you want with the fuel valve, or you leave the valve flow rate low and use the handle squeeze trigger to pulse the torch to get a burst of fire when you want it.