Are Grill Flare-Ups Bad?

When cooking on a propane or charcoal grill, you’re bound to get occasional flare-ups. Despite what you might think about scorching that juicy steak, when controlled, flare-ups can add flavor to your food! 

Of course, there is a difference between good and bad flames when grilling, and the pros at Synergy Outdoor Living are here to discuss how flare-ups can enhance your grilling mastery.  

What Are Flare-Ups? 

A flare-up is a burst of intense flames from your grill. It usually starts when fat drips from the meat onto the coals or burner of your grill, then ignites into ablaze.  

Even though a flare-up can add delicious flavor to your grilled foods, if the fat ignites from built-up grease and carbon inside the grill, you could have a grease fire on your hands. So be careful and keep that grill clean!  

Causes of Flare-Ups 

  •  Drippings from oily marinades 
  • Fatty meats like burgers, rib-eye steaks, bacon, or chicken with skin  
  • High grill temperatures 
  • Built-up grease or carbon on grates or other grill parts 


Flare-ups usually start when placing meat on the grill or when flipping it. There’s a fine line between the positives and negatives of flare-ups, which typically die down quickly.  

However, quality grills that are well maintained should have minimal flare-ups, which could result in overcooking or excessive bitterness from soot. 

Keep it clean: Clean Your Grill the Right Way! 

Flare-Ups Add Flavor  

Whether you are grilling with charcoal briquettes, hardwood, or using a gas grill, the secret to delicious grilled food is the drippings. Essentially, as drippings from fatty pieces of food drop and burn, a myriad of delectable aromas are created from the combustion of natural sugars, proteins, and oils.  

That’s where it’s at! These aromas are carried upward by the plume of rising air and flame from the fire and give your grilled food its unique taste. See? Flare-ups aren’t always bad. So resist the urge to move the meat to a spot away from the grill’s heat. Those dancing flames will result in the wonderful flavors of your grilled food.  


Become a better grill master with a new grill and custom outdoor living space from Synergy Outdoor Living! Call Synergy Outdoor Living at (813) 322-2137 to start designing a custom outdoor kitchen today.  

When to Douse Those Flare-Ups 

With any kind of grilling, the most important consideration is the temperature. When grilling with charcoal, the temperature is correct when the coals glow red and there are no visible flames. If charcoal is too cool, it will produce a grey smoke that imparts a bitter or acrid flavor to food.  

With gas grilling, the temperature is more easily maintained, and the height and intensity of the fire can be changed with the turn of a dial.  

Even though flare-ups can create delicious food, it’s important to control them. Visible, flickering flames momentarily cool the fire below, which can lead to plumes of carbon soot and ashes on the food.  

To harness flare-ups, keep the food in a position that is far enough away from being coated in soot while allowing the food to draw in those delicious compounds released when juices drip on the hot coals.  

Another strategy is to move the food slightly to one side of the grill, closer to the flare-ups. Controlling the flare-up can be a challenge, but with experience, you’ll become a true master of your grill 


Let’s get grillin’: Direct vs. Indirect Grilling  

It’s Grilling Season 

Make the most of the Florida lifestyle with evenings spent enjoying time with family and friends. Your backyard will be the best new dinner spot in town with a custom outdoor kitchen equipped with a grill, beverage-dispensing unit Kegerator, smoker, or pizza oven from Synergy Outdoor Living!  

Let’s build the outdoor living area of your dreams. Call us at (813) 322-2137 to learn more or to schedule a free design consultation in Tampa, Orlando, or Jacksonville. 

Until next time, get grilling!  

Synergy Outdoor Living