Summer is the perfect time for cooking food on the grill. However, thousands of house fires are started each year in the United States by grills. Use these grilling safety tips to help you keep your home, pets, family, and yourself safe this summer.
For Safety, Move the Grill Away From Structures
One of the most important grilling safety tips you can follow is keeping your grill at least 10 feet away from your home, garage, deck, patio, and other structures. Never grill under awnings or trees with low-hanging branches. In drier summer months, free-floating embers can easily start fires.
Keep Children and Pets Away from the Grill
It’s easy for children and pets to accidentally bump into or touch hot parts of the grill, so keep them at least three feet away at all times. Your grill will remain hot for an hour or more after you’ve extinguished the flames. If possible, have another adult around to supervise small children while you’re preparing the food.
Grilling Safety Means Waiting to Re-Light
If you’re using a gas grill and the flame goes out, turn both the grill and the gas off. Wait at least five minutes before you re-light it. If you are using charcoal, only use lighter fluid to initially light the grill. Don’t add fluid to already-burning coals. After cooking, wait until the coals completely cool before you dispose of them in a metal container.
Keep the Grill Clean
Cleaning your grill after each use is perhaps one of the most overlooked grilling safety tips. It’s easy to skip cleaning the grill when you’re in a hurry to eat dinner, but a clean grill cooks better-tasting food and keeps the grill safer. Clean the grease and fat buildup off both the grill grate and the drip tray after each use.
Check for Propane Leaks on Gas Grills
Before you begin grilling for the season, check your fuel tank hose for leaks by rubbing a solution of soapy water onto the hose. Turn the gas on. If there’s a leak, the solution will start to bubble. A flame that won’t light and a gas smell near the barbecue are other signs of a propane leak. If a leak is found, replace the hose and connecting clamps before using the grill.
Grill on a Stable Surface for Safety
Grill on a flat, stable surface where the grill cannot be easily tipped over. Use a grilling pad or splatter mat under your grill to keep the surface clean and the grill more stable.
Keep the Lid Open When Lighting a Gas Grill
For grilling safety, don’t try to ignite a grill with the lid closed. Gas can buildup and create a fireball. Always keep your gas grill lid open when you light it.
What to Wear for Grilling Safety
Don’t wear baggy clothing near the grill. Tie long hair back. Be mindful of shirt tails and apron strings. Use fireproof oven mitts and long-handled utensils when cooking on the grill.
Cook Meat Thoroughly
Invest in a meat thermometer to check that you’re cooking your meat thoroughly. Undercooked meat may contain bacteria that can make you and your family sick. Beef and pork are safe to eat when they have an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees. Chicken and turkey should be cooked until they are 165 degrees. Steak is safe to eat when it reaches 145 degrees.