We love to grill in Michigan and nothing is worse than running out of propane before the meat is cooked. Here's how to find out how much is left in the tank.

Taste the meat, not the heat.

-Hank Hill

Almost nothing is more American than a summertime cookout with hot dogs on the grill and a cold beer close by. For some reason, men love to cook if you just move the oven outside. Nothing is more emasculating than serving up undercooked meat because your coals burned out or you ran out of propane. Cookout ruined.

It's an ago-old debate, charcoal versus propane. Most say charcoal gives the meat a better flavor, but propane cooks more evenly and is way more convenient. With charcoal, it's easy, you know exactly how many briquets are left in the bag. When it comes to propane, it's all guesswork. Or is it? A spare tank or a built-in fuel gauge would solve the problem quickly and easily, but you can do it with just a glass of water.

First, turn off the gas and disconnect the tank. Then, pour a glass of warm water down the side. Because the propane in the tank absorbs the heat of the water, the enclosure will be cool where there is still gas remaining. While this won't give you an exact measurement, it gives you a good idea of how much is left. It's a pretty simple process- you can follow along in the video below. Keep in mind, on average, you can cook about twenty hours on a tank of propane.

As for the propane vs. charcoal debate? Gas grills are more popular than charcoal in the United States, by a 61% to 49% margin with 10% going electric.

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