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If the rust is on the exterior of the grill, remove the rust using a steel bristle brush and then smooth it down with sand paper.Spray a light coating of High Temperature Grill Paint (you can find it at most hardware stores and home centers) This first light coat, will act as the primer coat. After it thoroughly dries, apply 2 more light finish coats allowing each coat to dry, before applying the next coat. Based on the air temperature and the humidity level in your area, wait at least 3 days before using the grill.
If the rust is on the inside of the grill, just removing the rust will generally take care of it As most grill tubs are made of cast aluminum and don't require painting. What may appear to be rust is flaked on food and grease. In which case, a plastic putty knife and a roll of paper towel will take care of it.
And finally, investing in a grill head cover (made for built-in grills), will really help in not allowing the grill to rust again.
The regulator that comes with Weber grills shuts the gas flow off if it detects the slightest leak. Disconnect the tank an reconnect. Check connections with soapy water for any leaks. Another problem, though uncommon for a new grill is a defective regulator. You have a 1 year warrenty on your grill so contact Weber if you continue to have problems.
even with all the vents open the air is restricted with the top on. This is what makes the kettle such a remarkable cooking machine. If you wish to grill then leave the lid off and cook directly over the coals, if you are grilling a thicker cut of meat such as a 1 1/2" thick porterhouse you might want to put the lid on for a while to more or less bake or broil the meat without blackening the surface of the meat and to achieve the desired internal doneness of the cut. you can also stack your briquettes/lump to one side and put the lid on so the exhaust is opposite to create a non direct cooking environment for cuts such as butts, ribs, briskets, whole chickens etc
I might have an Idea to what happened. All grills have a drip pan, most all new grills have a drain for grease that falls from our savory meats. Well, if, (not saying that you haven't) but if, you have not cleaned the drip pan, there is still grease left over that gets absorbed by food droppings. IF this is the case, you had a ticking time bomb of a grease fire. The grill did not overheat, the grease caught fire. You said your grill was a year old; so the regulator did not go full blast and when they do go bad they do not let gas pass through.
Not trying to preach to no one because I have done it myself, never leave your gas grill on and unattended. I hate to say it but even the owners manual says it.
I hope I did not come off the wrong way and I hope this might give you an idea/thought of what happened.