We all love the time of year when we can abandon the indoor kitchen and head out to the grill for open air breathing, relaxing, and some great food. For those of you who are new to outdoor grilling or who may need a refresher, we are giving you our top TIPS FOR GRILLING SAFETY so there’s no chance your summer grilling season is remembered for another reason.
Tip #1You probably wondered why about 15 years ago, outdoor kitchens became all the rage. The real purpose in having an area designated for outdoor cooking took hold when people realized these structures were highly durable and allowed for measures to be in place to ensure rogue hot coals from charcoal fires or excessive heat from gas grills didn’t ignite the surrounding structures like the house and garage. If you can’t afford a full outdoor kitchen layout, at least follow some of the basic ideas: set the cooking area a distance away from any building and preferably on a fire-proof surface like concrete, that is safely away from trees and grass.
Tip #2Keep your grill clean. Whether it’s propane, natural gas, electric or charcoal, all grills need periodic cleaning to keep them performing optimally as well as to prevent those surprise grease fires. Any grill can have a grease fire! Clean the drip pan, grease pan, lid, walls and grilling grates. In addition to the safety need, this will give you the longest life out of the grills parts. If you grill a lot in a single season, then clean the equipment more than just at the start and end of the season.
Tip #3Don’t use lighter fluid. This is a chemical designed to give quick life to briquets, charcoal, and wood. Don’t use it! It adds a prominent chemical taste to your foods and can result in a fire that goes wild. Learn what a chimney starter is, buy one, and use it. It is the safest and easiest method of lighting a fire for a charcoal/wood grill.
Tip #4Take note of the clothing you choose to wear when you know you’re going to be in control of the grill. No dangling sleeves, strings, or flammable materials should be near the grill. Aprons are a great way to keep clean as well as to keep flowing clothing under control. Just be sure the ties to said apron don’t become a fire starter.
Tip #5Outdoor cooking is an adult activity. Don’t assign a youngster to watch the grill. Grease fires account for most of the damaging fires resulting from grilling. Plus, it is so easy for youngsters to receive burns from brushing or directly touching the hot grill surfaces. Animals, too, should be kept away.
Tip #6Always prepare for catastrophic events! That means keep a fire extinguisher handy, sand, or baking soda at the ready. Never attempt to put out a grease fire with water. Remember, when using a fire extinguisher, spray ahead of the fire and then move toward it.
Tip #7Understand how your grill works. With multi-fuel options in one piece of equipment, you need to know how to close vents, valves to gas, and output drafts. Firing up the grill and having something uncontrollable occur is not the time to learn what those knobs, slides, and dials are for.
Tip #8If nuts, bolts, or screws loosen up, take the time to secure them back in place, especially if they are on lids, wheels, or fuel areas. Grills need to be sturdy to withstand the constant opening and closing of the lid. Protect the surface the grill is on by investing in a grill mat that is fire retardant. Not only can it prevent the start of a fire, but it will protect your deck or patio material from needing replacement.
Tip #9When lighting a gas grill, be sure to keep the lid open. Lighting when the lid is down can result in the gas pooling and exploding. This will result in the lid becoming a weapon of its own when it is blown off the grill!
Tip #10Never move a grill indoors including to a garage! I know. Space is always an issue when you entertain and a grill can take a lot of that valuable space. But there is no way around the fact that these pieces of equipment require outdoor air to prevent accumulation of volatile gases that can make you and everyone around ill or worse. Plus, these units radiate a lot of heat and that heat can spread quickly to other surfaces like the garage door, walls, siding, canopies, lawn chairs – you name it. Always maintain a 3- foot barrier around the grill including above it to ensure no issues.
Have you experienced a disaster while grilling? Tell us what safety tip you wish you had known about before disaster struck. Get tips, techniques, recipes, and the science behind the flame and fire to improve your skills with wood-fired cooking! Follow our TIPS FOR GRILLING SAFETY for a wonderful safe grilling season!