Fourth of July is finally here, and you know what that means – barbecue season has officially kicked off! Whether you’ve never touched a grill before in your life or you consider yourself a bit of a grill master, these tips and tricks will keep you grilling safely and deliciously all summer long.
On setting up the grill…
- Check the grill prior to every use. Before you start cooking, it’s important to remove any dirt from the grilling surface. The best way to do this is to heat the grill to about 200 degrees, then use a wire brush to scrub the surface clean. Keep an eye out for any issues with the propane tank, tubes, and burners on your grill as well. Damage to these components could make grilling supremely difficult or cause a major accident to occur.
- Keep your grill away from your house. As a general rule, your grill should be used at least 10 feet away from your house. This reduces the risk of a fire starting and causing other damage to your home’s exterior. The best place for a grill is out of the way of high-traffic areas. 7,000 people are injured by grills every year, so be mindful of placing grills near children’s playsets, as they could bump into it and get injured easily.
On using the grill…
- Create zones of varying temperatures. This allows you to cook multiple things at once and keep foods that are done cooking warm until you’re ready to plate and serve them. Varying heat zones are the secret to becoming a grill master!
- Charring meat is a big no-no. While you may love the taste and texture of charred meat, know that charring is really bad for your health. Studies have proven that there are carcinogens in charred meat, which can lead to cancer and other health problems. To avoid accidental charring, monitor your heat zones carefully when preparing your food.
- Avoid overloading the grill with food. This is particularly important when you’re cooking fatty foods like burgers. When excess fat drips onto the fire, it can quickly flame up. If there’s too much food on the grill, it could start a grease fire (which requires baking soda to extinguish). Avoid the problem by grilling in small batches.
On fire safety…
- Keep the holiday decor away. Decorating your yard is a fun way to celebrate the summer holidays, but decorations should be kept away from the grilling area. The wind can quickly take hold of light decor and plant it directly onto the grill, causing a fire to start.
- Store a fire extinguisher nearby. You never know when an accident can happen, so it’s always best to be prepared. Keep a fire extinguisher in a shed or grill cart nearby in the event of a fire starting. You’ll be able to put it out quickly and effectively (and maybe even save the food, too!).
- Don’t turn on the gas when your grill cover is closed. This allows gas to build up quickly, and when the burners ignite, you could have a fireball on your hands. Leave the lid open and allow the propane gas to flow out into the air so that the fire lights safely under control.
- Never leave the grill unattended. No matter what happens, you should never leave your grill unattended. If you have to walk away for a moment, have someone else man it while you take care of business. An unattended grill can quickly become a major problem, be it a child getting hurt or a fire starting.
- Be smart! This should go without saying, but you should never, under any circumstances, grill indoors. The smoke can make it difficult to breathe, and the risk of starting a fire is way too great. Keep grilling to the great outdoors this summer season.
Get grillin’ and chillin’ with these summer grilling tips. Happy Fourth of July!