With yesterday marking the beginning of Summer, it was only fitting that we shared a story about barbecue grilling. This one could actually save your life.
I have had four cookouts this year which is probably more than the past nine years combined. Working weekends kept the grilling at bay. Getting back into the swing of things was easy, as far as barbecuing goes.
- Get the grill fired up.
- Put the meat on.
- Don’t forget to turn it when one side is cooked.
The one part that I think everyone can use a refresher course on is grill safety. According to the National Fire Protection Association, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 8,900 home fires involving grills, hibachis, or barbecues last year. This includes structure fires and outside or unclassified fires on home properties.
These fires caused 10 civilian deaths, 160 reported civilian injuries, and $118 million in direct property damage.
We don’t have a gas grill, but a lot of these tips would have come in handy if I did. We use charcoal. There is some debate on what the best cooking fuel is, but charcoal usually comes out on top because of its ease of use, and because it feels safer.
Check out this great list of Grilling Safety Tips. Following them when using gas or charcoal will insure that you’re around for many cookouts to come.
BBQ safety tips
- Charcoal and gas (natural and propane) grills should only be used outside, well away from the house and out from under eaves and low tree branches.
- Turn off a gas line when not in use. Store charcoal in a cool, dry place out of the sun and far away from the barbecue.
- Frequently clean grease and fat buildup from the grill and the tray below the grill.
- To light a gas grill, open the lid, turn on the gas line, turn on the burner knobs and push the ignition button. If the grill doesn’t light within a few seconds, turn the gas off for five minutes and allow the gas to dissipate before trying again.
- When turning a grill off, turn off the gas line FIRST, then the burner knobs, to prevent gas from leaking.
- Never use flammable liquids other than charcoal starter fluid to start a charcoal grill; never add starter fluid once the fire is going.
- Dispose of coals in a metal container after they have completely cooled.
- Never leave a lit grill unattended and keep kids and pets clear. Remember the grill will stay hot for at least an hour after use.
- Keep a fire extinguisher nearby. You’ll find them reasonably priced at any home improvement store.
- Remember, safety first. Leaving the grill unattended and keeping kids and pets away are paramount.
Of course, after the safety concerns, the primary responsibility is to cook! In my case, my wife likes her steak or burgers well done. I like them a little pink and moist on the inside. To each their own. It’s always a good idea to keep your audience in mind when grilling, including the kids. My boys never really showed an interest in cooking out yet. Maybe they’re too young, almost 9 going on 16. I look forward to the day when I can show them how to cook meat or corn on a grill.
But will of course, start by teaching them safety first.
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