If you love the idea of spending a sunny afternoon outside grilling up a delicious meal, you are not alone. According to the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association, roughly 80% of American households own at least one grill or smoker, and recipes and tips for preparing an amazing range of foods are readily available from an impressive variety of sources. Unfortunately, an accident or injury can quickly spoil the fun. It is important to keep some basic grilling safety tips in mind to help avoid problems and protect your family and friends.
Check Your Equipment
Before you fire up your grill for the first meal of the season, take some time to look it over for signs of damage or deterioration. Whether you prefer charcoal or gas, make sure that everything is clean and in good working order. If it is a new grill, take a few moments to familiarize yourself with it by reading the instruction manual. There tends to be a certain amount of variation between grills, so even experts can benefit from spending a little time getting to know the quirks of a new piece of equipment.
Choose a Safe Spot
There is a time and place for everything, including grilling. When you get cooking, your grill puts put off a surprising amount of heat. To avoid accidental fires and melted siding, keep your grill at least 10 feet away from your house, garage and any outbuildings. Choose a level area that is clear of trees, bushes, and other flammable objects.
Don’t Get Burned
The unexpected happens, and being prepared for it can be the difference between a funny story and a tragic event. Always treat the flames that your grill generates with caution. Keep a spray bottle of water within easy reach to help calm small flare-ups, and have a fire extinguisher on hand. Never leave the grill unattended, and make certain that small children and pets are kept a safe distance away.
Clear the Air
The tangy smell of grill smoke is enough to make your mouth water, but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. The smoke produced while grilling can contain toxic carbon monoxide and some recognized carcinogens. To stay safe, always use your grill in a well-ventilated area.
Most grilling safety tips focus on the grill, but skimping on food safety procedures is a major mistake. Be mindful of keeping food at the proper temperatures before and after it is cooked. Put raw meats and cooked ones on different dishes, and use a meat thermometer to make certain that your meats have reached the proper temperature.
Whether you are a traditionalist, who loves to grill up hamburgers, hot dogs, and steaks or a more adventurous cook who enjoys experimenting with pizza and grilled veggies, preparing a meal on a grill comes with a certain amount of risk. Following some simple grilling safety tips will allow you to minimize the danger and maximize your enjoyment.
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