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Why Does My Summit Gas Grill Have Such Big Flames?

The Summit series are some of the largest and most sophisticated grills that we make, and owning a Summit can be a big investment. That makes it all the more important that you read the owner’s manual so you know how to properly use and maintain them, but I’m as guilty as anyone of buying something and not necessarily reading every page of the manual.

If someone were to buy a Summit and skip one specific section of the owner’s guide they might end up reaching out to us to ask us about something we hear from time to time.

“My Summit grill shoots out big flames when I try to light it!” or “There are huge flames on my Summit near the front of the grill!”

There’s a very simple explanation for this and it has to do with the Snap-Jet technology that’s used to light the burners on the Summit series.

Each burner valve has the igniter built right into it, and to light each burner you press the knobs in (1) and then turn the knob to the “start” position (2). When you do this, a spark is generated at the tip of the igniter electrode, as seen in the image below.


What happens next is that a special, small burner valve (3) releases a burst of gas that’s ignited from the spark. When this happens you’ll see a bright flame shoot out just to the upper left of each burner (4) which then lights the actual burner tube (5). This can sometimes be alarming if you’ve had a gas grill that didn’t use a Snap-Jet igniter system.


Sometimes a new Summit owner might think that there burners are going out because they see the big Snap-Jet flame disappear once they turn the knob past the “start” position not realizing that the burner tube has actually been lit because of the Flavorizer bars that sit over them.

An easy way to test if your burners are actually lit is to wave your hand over the cooking grates, at a safe distance of course. You’ll feel heat rising if the burners are actually lit and should be ready to grill after letting the unit pre-heat. Another way to check if your grill is lighting up properly is to do so at night. When it’s dark outside it’s much easier to see the burner flames.

I’m not claiming reading an owner’s guide is necessarily fun, but being worried about your new Summit grill not working properly is even less fun, so make sure to check it out before you light up your grill for the first time!