There is nothing like eating a juicy burger fresh off the grill on a summer evening. This time of year, my family loves to grill whenever we get the chance. Not only is the food delicious, but we get to enjoy the outdoors while being social.
Unfortunately, what should be a fun activity can result in tragedy—think burns, upset stomachs, house fires, etc. Here are 10 grilling safety tips that will help you avoid unnecessary accidents:
1. Clean your grill and trays often
I don’t know anyone who would re-use a pan without washing it first, yet so many people don’t wash their grill with each use! Very unsanitary.
2. Don’t use indoors
Another tip that would seem like common sense, but it’s surprising how many actually try grilling inside their home—usually with bad results. This also includes grilling inside the garage.
3. A stable surface is a must
Ever see someone try to grill on a step or raised platform? Yeah, not pretty… Only grill on flat areas.
4. Keep your grill separate
A grill’s flame can quickly spread to the house itself, a deck, shrubs, a hanging branch, etc. Try to maintain a 5-10 foot radius as a precaution.
5. Safely ignite
Light barbecues with a long match or mechanical lighter. Don’t wear loose clothing, either. Cooking on a very windy day can also contribute to disaster, so be mindful of weather conditions.
6. Keep decorations away from grill
I actually know someone who was cooking on 4th of July and had a flag accidently set on fire by a grill. Dish cloths are another one that’s often overlooked.
7. Avoid food poisoning
Cross-contamination is a serious problem. Use separate plates and utensils for cooked and uncooked meat. I never re-use a marinade after cooking, but if you insist, it must be boiled before serving.
8. Starter fluid needs to be properly stored
If used, do it carefully and always keep away from children and heat sources. Don’t leave it beside the grill indefinitely. It’s a chemical, after all.
9. Don’t leave unattended
Sad but true: A hot surface with potentially shooting flames is a magnet for tiny fingers and wagging tails. Keep a watchful eye when in use.
10. Check for leaks with Propane
Turn grill off immediately if you smell gas. If the smell continues, move all people and pets away from the grill and call 911. This is nothing to play around with. Having a fire extinguisher on hand is always smart, just in case.
Do you have any more tips for safe grilling?