Grilling is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and whip up delicious meals at the same time. However, it also poses some risks that you might not be familiar with. That's why grilling safety tips are important to keep in mind—not only for your own well-being but for those around you too.
While a fire only needs three things to burn, there are many safety precautions to take. From the location of your grill to the different kinds of meat that you cook, there's plenty to consider in order to keep everyone safe and have some tasty food. So make sure you read up on these grilling tips in order to keep the BBQ going strong!
12 Safety Grill Tips and Precautions
Never leave your lit grill unattended
According to the National Fire Prevention Association, all grills should be kept at least three feet away from pets and children.
Once the BBQ is turned on, your children should stay away from it. Make a 3-foot-wide border with chalk around the barbecue area, indicating that it is a barbecue-only zone that no one should enter while the adults are grilling.
Remind your child that, like a stove, a barbeque gets quite hot and should not be touched. Because the grill creates an outside cooking atmosphere, this new kitchen should also be a safe and kid-free zone.
You should never leave your barbecue unattended, since curious pets may wander over and inadvertently cause harm to themselves or others.
Use propane and charcoal grills outdoors
Use the grill outside in a well-ventilated location at all times. Always read and follow the manufacturer's instructions, and store any printed documents and manuals in a secure, easily accessible location. When the grill is not in use, make sure the burner controls are off and the cylinder valve is entirely closed.
Before igniting, wait until the fluid has soaked in. Cap lighter fluid right away and keep it away from the grill. If the coals are already hot or heated, don't use lighter fluid.
As a starter, never use gasoline, kerosene, or other extremely flammable liquids. They have the potential to blow out. Use an electric, solid metal chimney or another starter specifically designed for lighting charcoal briquettes or wood pieces instead of lighter fluid.
Not allowing adequate space for the grill
The location of your grill is possibly the most important factor in keeping your family safe while barbecuing. It may be exciting to grill indoors, but this can result in the production of carbon monoxide, which is both invisible and harmful.
However, having an umbrella or tree branch too close to the grill might be dangerous because drifting embers can easily ignite a fire. Your grill must be at least 10 feet away from the house or garage, deck railings, and other structures, whether it's charcoal or gas.
Close your grill properly
Make sure your grill knobs are turned off after you have finished cooking. You need to switch off the gas tank to know that your grill is turned off.
To burn, charcoal, like anything else, requires oxygen. After the charcoal has burned away any trapped air, shutting the vents completely suffocates the charcoal. Allow for the charcoal to burn out and the grill to cool for 4 to 8 hours.
Use the ash dump if your grill has one to remove as much ash as possible. Always put it in a metal container rather than a plastic one. Remove the leftover ash and coals from the grill's bottom.
Keep a fire extinguisher nearby
While you may not be able to predict a fire hazard, being prepared can help you safeguard your family. This includes having a fire extinguisher nearby, and knowing how to use them. If you are one of the households who start grilling without a fire extinguisher nearby, we strongly advise you to get one as soon as possible.
Never use lighter fluid on hot coals
The lighter liquid is hazardous material and its use omissions can cause a sudden explosion of the fuel. The smoke can even follow through the flow into the bottle you hold and have predictable, catastrophic consequences.
Only use charcoal starter fluid if you're using a charcoal grill. Don't add any starting fluid or other combustible liquids to the fire if it starts to die out. Consider utilizing a charcoal chimney starter, which starts the fire using newspaper rather than starter fluid.
Keep your grills clean
Even if you scrape your grill after each use, carcinogens can accumulate on the cooking grate over time and be transferred to your food during the cooking process, posing a health danger.
Also, fat buildup on the grill grates can also cause minor flare-ups.
Cleaning your grill is one of the most efficient ways to remove carcinogens from your grilled meals, so make sure to scrub it completely after each usage.
Check your propane tank for leaks
Propane gas leaks are extremely harmful since they are combustible. This can cause a dangerous flare-up. This leak test should be performed at the very least before the first usage of the season, or if your propane-powered appliance hasn't been used in a long time:
- Smell: The smell is one of the fastest and easiest ways to detect a propane leak. You may have a propane leak if you smell rotten eggs or skunk spray.
- Spike in usage: A leak could be the cause if you're running out of propane faster than normal and haven't modified your usage habits much.
- Performance: If your propane grill, space heater, or fire pit has a smaller, weaker flame than usual, or they just aren’t working the way they usually do, you may have a propane leak.
Put on the appropriate clothing:
When it comes to grilling, it is important what you wear. Long-sleeved shirts can keep your arms and hands safe from the heat of the fire. However, you should avoid wearing loose-fitting clothes while grilling. Loosely fitted clothes are prone to catching fire. Wear your hair up and keep it out of your face if you have long hair. Also, make sure that you wear heat-resistant grilling gloves to protect your hand from burning.
Cross-contamination of food
Cross-contamination, a leading cause of food poisoning, tops the list of food safety concerns during grilling season. Cross-contamination can occur when juices from raw meats or bacteria from unclean items come into contact with cooked or ready-to-eat foods, spreading harmful bacteria that can make you sick.
Always begin with a clean grill, and Cooked foods should not be placed on plates that previously held raw foods.
Grilling an excessive amount of food at once
The cooking surface may occasionally smell like a hot grill. Unless you have greasy meat, you should cook the food in batches and not reheat it. Smaller batches of grilling are a great way to improve the quality of your grill.
Keep a water spray bottle nearby
If you have a minor flare-up, spray it with water to instantly calm it down. The added benefit of this tip is that spraying with a water spray bottle will not harm your food, so dinner will not be ruined!
Never start your gas grill with the lid closed
When you light your grill with the lid closed, a dangerous buildup of gas can occur, resulting in a fireball. This is easily avoided by leaving the lid of your gas grill opens when lighting it. If the flame goes out, turn off the grill and the gas, and wait at least 5 minutes before relighting it.
Always use a meat thermometer
Grilling temperatures are critical because meat must be cooked at the proper temperature to kill any bacteria. Grill cooks inspect their meats, and if they do, we recommend using a meat thermometer for a quick temperature check for safe cooking.
Whether you're the grill master or serving your guests, knowing the proper grilling and barbecue safety tips is essential to ensure a fun and safe barbecue experience. This will minimize any chance of personal injury as well as keep property damage at a minimum. If you have grilled before or have been invited to a backyard barbecue, review this list of grilling safety tips.