As much as I love my kitchen, there’s nothing like heading outdoors and firing up the barbecue. And with summer beginning, it’s hard to resist a good old fashioned hotdog, hamburger or steak from the grill.
Each year about 600 fires and explosions occur because caution wasn’t used around gas and charcoal grills. When cooking outdoors, whether hot and fast grilling, or low and slow barbecue, there are a few things you need to know to make sure nothing goes wrong and to get the most out of your cooking.
1. Never barbecue inside your house, garage, trailer, tents or any type of enclosed area…grills are designed for outdoor use only. The carbon monoxide fumes may accumulate and kill. Enjoy your grill in a well-ventilated area but be aware of wind-blown sparks.
2. Keep the grill clean of grease and food build up to avoid fires. You can brush the grill with canola oil to prevent food from sticking.
3. I’m probably too cautious, but some parents have the younger children light the grills. To me that’s a definite safety risk and no children should have this responsibility.
4. Read your manual and learn the minimum distance that must be kept clear around the unit. I suggest that you take a good look at your equipment and imagine the worst fire you can. Make sure there aren’t any buildings, trees or other objects within the “keep clear” space.
5. Most igniters on the grill stop working causing you have to light the flames with a long match stick. When lighting the igniter, be sure not to turn the valve to the gas on too soon…it will make a huge flare up.
6. Keep foods refrigerated until you are ready to cook. Leaving edibles in the hot sun can ruin the party.
7. Keep a fire extinguisher handy when outside.
8. It is not advisable to use sauce at the beginning of your cooking. And always wait at least one minute before serving food to avoid burns.
9. Keep the grill stable to avoid tipping. Place your grill over a plain surface; not over any steep or sloping surfaces.
10. Never store or use flammable liquids, like gasoline, near the grill.