Summer barbecues are a time-honored tradition and the perfect way to celebrate the season with family and friends. There’s nothing quite like the sizzle of meat on a hot grill during summer barbecue season. But it’s important to prioritize safety when it comes to outdoor cooking. From flare-ups to food poisoning, there are lots of potential hazards to avoid. To keep your grilling game strong and everyone safe, here are some essential barbeque safety tips to keep in mind this summer.
Choose the Right Spot to Grill
When setting up your grill, choose a level surface that’s at least 10 feet away from your home, trees, and low-hanging branches. Make sure your grill is stable and won’t tip over easily. Keep nearby flammable materials, such as gasoline or lighter fluid, safely stored and away from the area of the grill. Also, make sure to surround the grill with plenty of space to ensure that everyone is safe when visiting your barbecue.
Clean the Grill Thoroughly
A clean grill is a safer and more enjoyable grill. Before firing up the grill, make sure it is clean of old grease and residue, which can ignite and cause a fire. Inspect the grill grates, the drip pan, and the grease tray for any clogs or debris. Use a brush or scraper to clean the grates, and wipe the exterior with a damp cloth if necessary.
After each use, scrape off any leftovers to prevent grease buildup that can cause a fire. This cleaning process can be done using scouring pads or a professional brush.
Turn on the grill only when someone is present. Never leave the grill unattended, even for a moment. A kiddo, pet, or inattentive friend can accidentally touch the hot grill and burn themselves or start a fire.
Keep an Eye on Flare-Ups
Flare-ups can happen at any time with a hot grill, so stay vigilant. If you see flames or excessive smoke occur, turn off the gas or move the meat to a cooler area of the grill. Use a spray bottle of water to put out minor flare-ups, but be careful not to douse the flames with water, which can make the flare-up worse. If flare-ups are frequent, clean the grates to remove excess grease from your last cookout.
Keep a Fire Extinguisher Nearby
Don’t be caught off guard in case of an emergency. Have a fire extinguisher on hand in case flames get out of control. Learn how to operate the fire extinguisher before the barbecue; you don’t want to figure it out when the time comes.
When cooking meat and poultry, use a meat thermometer to ensure it’s cooked to the recommended temperature. This will kill any harmful bacteria, preventing food poisoning. Keep foods refrigerated until ready to cook to avoid cross-contamination. Cook smaller pieces of meat over high heat, while larger pieces should be cooked over medium heat to avoid burning the outside while undercooking the inside.
Close Up Shop Properly
Once the cooking is done, properly shut down the grill. Turn off the fuel source and let the coals or grill grate cool down completely. Once the grill cools down, you can safely start to dissemble, clean, and put away any accessories you may have used.
Barbequeing can be a fun and enjoyable experience for everyone but following these essential safety tips will make all the difference in having a great cookout and staying safe. Keeping these safety tips in mind, you’ll be a grill master in no time and can impress all your guests with your safe and delicious summer barbecues!
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