Hot Grilling Tips
What You Should Know About Grilling Safety Americans love grilling, and for good reason. We love to grill because the food tastes good, it’s a fun outdoor activity, it’s a great way to entertain and the list goes on. As with any type of cooking, in addition to your recipes for food, you need to follow a recipe for grilling safety. Everything Barbeque – Outfitting Backyard Chefs wants to make sure when you fire up your grill you’re on the safe side.
Basic Safety Tips
- Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for assembling and using your grill or smoker. Call their “helpline” numbers if you have a problem or question.
- Be sure all parts of your grill are firmly in place and that the grill is stable.
- Grills are for outside only. Never grill in a trailer, tent, house, garage or any other enclosed area.
- Set up your grill in an open, well-ventilated area that is away from buildings, overhead combustible surfaces, high traffic areas, play areas or where dry leaves or brush gathers.
- If you use electrically-fuelled accessories (e.g., a rotisserie) be sure they’re properly grounded in accordance with local codes. Buy a cord designed for outdoor use. Route the cord well away from the hot grill and walkways.
- Use long-handled utensils to avoid burns.
- Do not wear hanging shirttails, frills, apron strings or other loose clothing.
- Use flame-retardant mitts.
- Never leave a hot grill unattended.
- Designate your grilling area a “No Play Zone” keeping kids and pets well away until grill equipment is completely cool.
- Never attempt to move a hot grill. It is easy to stumble or drop it and serious burns could result.
- To put out flare-ups, either raise the grid that the food is on, spread the coals out evenly, or adjust the controls to lower the temperature. If you must douse the flames with a light spritz of water, first remove the food from the grill.
- Use baking soda to control a grease fire and have a fire extinguisher handy. If you do not have a fire extinguisher, keep a bucket of sand or garden hose nearby.
Safety Tips: Gas Grills
- Remember, liquid petroleum (LP) gas or propane, used in gas grills, is highly flammable.
- After a period of storage or disuse, check for gas leaks, deterioration, proper assembly, and burner obstruction before using.
- Clean and perform general maintenance on your gas grill twice a year. Watch for rust, paint the LP cylinder to make it more rustproof, and check the regulator, hoses and burner parts. Always turn off gas at the source prior to inspecting parts. Check owner’s manual for additional maintenance requirements.
- Visually inspect hose(s) for abrasion, wear and leaks before each use. A soap and water solution may be used to test for leaks. Never use a flame to check for gas leaks. Replace faulty hose(s) using a parts replacement kit before operating.
- Prior to lighting a gas grill, open the lid to release any gas build-up.
- When cooking is completed, be sure to turn off the fuel supply, and then turn the burners to “off.”
- Keep burners clear of dirt and insects that can block hoses or venture tubes.
- Check for gas leaks every time you disconnect and reconnect the regulator to the LP cylinder.
- Never connect or disconnect an LP cylinder, or move or alter gas fittings when the gas grill is in operation or is hot.
- Never use an LP cylinder if it shows signs of dents, gouges, bulges, fire damage, corrosion, leakage, excessive rust or other forms of visual external damage; it may be hazardous and should be checked by a liquid propane supplier.
- Always store propane tanks outside, in an upright position, and in areas where temperatures won’t exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Never store a spare LP cylinder on or near a grill.
- Do not force too much propane into an LP cylinder. The typical cylinder holds approximately 20 pounds of propane. This leaves some room for the liquid to expand.
- Once the LP cylinder is connected, the grill must be kept outside in a well-ventilated space. When not in use, the LP cylinder valve must be turned to the “OFF” position.
- If storing the gas grill indoors, the LP cylinder must be disconnected, removed, and stored outdoors. Never store an LP cylinder indoors.
- The cylinder valve outlet must be plugged whenever the cylinder is not connected to the grill or is being transported unless it is a quick close coupling or quick connect type of cylinder valve. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for handling of cylinders.
Safety Tips: Charcoal Grills
- Charcoal produces carbon monoxide (CO) when it is burned. Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas that can be deadly. Never use your charcoal grill inside your home, garage, a tent or any other enclosed area that would allow buildup of CO – as well as creating a fire hazard.
- When using charcoal briquettes or wood chunks, form a pyramid and apply lighter fluid. Wait until fluid has soaked in before lighting.
- Cap lighter fluid immediately and place a safe distance from grill.
- Never add lighter fluid to coals that are already hot or warm as the fumes may explode.
- Never use gasoline, kerosene, or other highly volatile fluids as a starter. They can explode.
- As an alternative to lighter fluid, use an electric, solid, metal chimney or other starter specifically made for lighting charcoal briquettes or wood chunks.
- Unplug and remove a hot starter with caution and be careful where you put it. Always cool starter completely before storing.
- Never use an electric starter in the rain and/or when standing on wet ground.
- Allow coals to burn out completely and let ashes cool at least 48 hours before disposing.
- Dispose of cold ashes by wrapping in heavy-duty aluminum foil and placing in a non-combustible container. Be sure no other combustible materials are nearby.
- If you must dispose of ashes before completely cooled, place them in heavy duty foil and soak with water
- completely before disposing in non-combustible containers.
Food Safety: Preparation
- Unwashed hands are a prime cause of food-borne illness. Whenever possible, wash your hands with warm, soapy water before handling food and after you have worked with raw meat. When grilling away from home, pack disposable antibacterial wipes for cleaning hands.
- Purchase ground meat or poultry no more than a day or two before you plan to grill it. Otherwise, freeze them. Grill larger cuts of meat, such as steaks, within 4 days of purchase, or freeze them.
- Completely thaw meat and poultry in the refrigerator. Frozen foods do not grill evenly and may be unsafe. Never defrost on the counter – bacteria will begin to grow quicker than you think. It takes about 24 hours to thaw 5 pounds of meat in the refrigerator.
- Clean up meat juice spills immediately with a paper towel or clean dishcloth. Throw away the paper towel or launder the dishtowel in hot soapy water before using it again.
- Marinate meat and poultry in the refrigerator. Sauce can be brushed on foods while cooking, but never use the same sauce after cooking that has touched the raw product.
Food Safety: Transporting
- Transport meat and poultry to a picnic site in a cooler kept cold with ice or frozen gels packs. Pack food in cooler immediately before leaving home. Pack beverages, snacks and other food in a separate cooler to avoid frequently opening cooler, exposing meat to warmer temperatures and limiting possibility of cross contamination.
- Find a shady spot to keep your cooler until you are ready to cook.
Food Safety: Grilling
- Scrape and heat your grill grate before placing food on it.
- Wash thermometers, knifes and other grilling tools before, between and after use. Use clean tongs or spatula for removing food from the grill.
- Make sure you cook your meat to the right internal temperature. The best way to ensure this is with a meat probe thermometer placed in the thickest part of the meat.
Beef, Pork, Veal, Lamb
Fresh Beef, Veal, Lamb
Whole Chicken & Turkey
Poultry breasts, roast
Poultry thighs, wings
Duck & Goose
Stuffing (cooked alone or in bird)
Precooked (to reheat)
Source: Hearth, Patio & Barbeque Association
These tips are not intended to be an exhaustive review of safety guidelines and should not be interpreted as precluding other procedures that would enhance safe grill operations. The Grill Outlet assumes no liability for reliance on the contents of this information. We simply want to pass along this helpful information so you may safely enjoy your grilling experience.
Have a smokin’ good day!