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As any barbecue fan will know, the right taste comes from the right equipment, and this means investing in the best products at every stage of the cooking process.
A flame tamer is a tool for a gas grill that can not only help to improve the taste of your food, reducing overcooking or burning, but it is also important for keeping you and your guests safe.
We have put together all you need to know about investing in a flame tamer, including what it is, how to choose one, where to buy them, and how they work.
In the simplest terms, a flame tamer is a barrier that sits between the cooking surface and the burners of your grill or barbecue.
The main job of a flame tamer is to prevent cooking sauces, drippings, marinades, and fat from the cooking surface from reaching the flame, reducing the risk of the fire suddenly erupting from the burners, which can be dangerous for both yourself and other people around you.
Flame tamers are available in different shapes and sizes, with some being designed specifically for use on gas grills while others are suitable for use on charcoal grills.
They come in various materials such as stainless steel, aluminum, plastic and ceramic, and there are even models that are made out of wood.
Flame Tamers come in two main types: ceramic briquettes, and metal flame tamers. We took a closer look at both types below.
These are the superior type of flame tamper, and they are usually used on luxury gas grills.
As the name suggests, ceramic briquettes are pieces of ceramic material that are placed next to one another as close together as possible, usually on a tray.
When the heat source is turned on, the meat will start to drip fats, oils, and marinades, and these can be absorbed by the briquettes, reducing the risk of a large flame while still generating smoke to enhance the flavor of the food being cooked, giving it a great woody, smoky taste and smell.
Metal flame tamers are often v shaped and placed with the corner pointing upwards over your burners. They are made of stainless steel, or with a porcelain coating.
Take care when touching your flame tamer after use; due to the position of the device during cooking, it can become extremely hot and burn you if touched with bare skin.
Always wear gloves, oven mitts, or pliers - or a combination of all three - when handling the device, and ensure that you have plenty of ventilation around the stove or grill.
Most flame tamers are removable to help facilitate cleaning. Ceramic briquette trays - like the ceramic burners offered by Lynx - can be removed for easy cleaning. V shaped metal tamers are also typically easy to remove and clean.
Using a flame tamer while cooking offers a number of benefits, including:
A flame tamer helps to distribute the heat evenly over the cooking surface, preventing uneven cooking and burning.
This means that when you cook using a flame tamer, the food cooks much more evenly across all sides, and the results are always consistent - and usually vastly improved to the taste of food cooked without this tool!
As mentioned above, a flame tamer prevents the grease and fat dripping off the food from hitting the naked flames, and therefore reduces the risk of a sudden flare-up occurring.
If you do accidentally set something alight, the flames won't spread very quickly because the grease has been prevented from reaching the flame, and this means you will be in a better position to control the fire.
The heat generated by the flame is transferred directly into the pan, rather than through the food itself, meaning that the temperature of the pans doesn't rise too high, and the food inside them doesn't overcook.
This is also good news for pans with plastic handles, as there is a lower risk that the handles will melt or become damaged as a result of heat.
Because the flame is kept away from the food, the smoke produced during cooking isn't able to escape and stays within the area where the food is being cooked. When using ceramic briquettes, this also means that you can enjoy an enhanced smoke taste in your food.
There are a number of factors that can help you choose the best flame tamer for your needs, and these include:
This should be chosen based on how well it conducts heat, and how easy it is to clean.
Stainless steel is a popular choice because it tends to be easier to clean, but it will not offer that enhancement to flavor and taste that you can enjoy with ceramic briquette flame tamers.
Ceramic briquettes, on the other hand, are also great for cooking, but they're difficult to clean and can cause problems if left in the dishwasher.
They can also be dangerous if used improperly, so make sure you read the instructions carefully before using them.
If you want to cook large quantities of food at once, then a larger flame tamer may be required. However, if you only need to cook small amounts of food at any one time, then a smaller model may be sufficient.
For larger spaces, it is a good idea to opt for a full-width burner - this allows you to cook across the whole surface, which makes things even faster and easier - not to mention safer.
It is important that you check out which flame tamper is compatible with your specific grill before buying.
Some brands of gas grills are designed specifically around their own brand of flame tamers, so it is essential that you know what type you require before purchasing to avoid an expensive mistake.
The ideal flame tamer is going to depend on what kind of cooking you plan to do, and whether you prefer to use charcoal briquettes or a stainless steel model.
Either way, a flame tamper offers you extra peace of mind and reassurance when cooking, not to mention the chance to enjoy a delicious enhanced taste.