DO(S) AND DON’T(S) WHEN IT COMES TO LIGHTING YOUR CHARCOAL GRILL
Powder coated grill finishes
Many grills have a powder coated finish, usually black. The grill manufacturer will not honor any warranty to the finish caused by overheating the sides or top of the grill, whether by heat from your burning charcoal or the sudden and intense heat of the GrillGun. Too much heat from the GrillGun will overheat and burn off the finish. If you are using a power coated grill and are concerned about exposing the bare metal by overheating it, light your charcoal on another surface such has a rock or piece of metal that won’t catch on fire and pour the burning charcoal into the grill once it is lit (similar to lighting your charcoal with a charcoal chimney). Many grills have an internal tray for the charcoal, allowing you to light the charcoal directly without flaming the insides of the grill and burning off the finish on the outside. Be careful of where you aim the GrillGun at the charcoal if this is a concern.
Fire tolerant painted grills
Some grills come with painted finishes with paint rated for 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. You’d have to really work at it to burn the finish off of this kind of grill, and you can always buy a spray can of heat rated paint at the hardware store and repaint if needed.
Stainless Steel Grills
Stainless steel grills for charcoal grilling are not as prevalent as they are for gas grilling, largely because of the higher cost of stainless steel over painted or powder coated steel. Nevertheless, if you have a stainless steel charcoal grill you don’t have to worry about burning off the exterior finish coating (since there is no exterior coating for a finish). Directly training the torch on one area of the skin will discolor it if you do it intentionally, however.
Most grill grates are made of either cast metal, powder coated wire, or chrome plated wire. If you aim the GrillGun at any small diameter wire (coated or uncoated) you will turn the wire grill orange and burn off any finish. For grills with light gauge wire grill tops, you will want to remove the grill grate and light the charcoal directly rather than starting the grill by blowing through the grill wires and damaging them. If the wire coating is already bad or non-existent, however, you may be more willing to trying lighting and sanitizing the grill at once.