Grilling is a supremely popular method of cooking, particularly throughout the summer months. With summer, AKA grilling season, right around the corner, we know many of you are itching to get outside and grill. Before you do, it’s important to understand the potential threats grilling poses, particularly when you’re grilling in a small space like an apartment. Familiarize yourself with these hazards – the best protection is prevention, after all!
Inspect your grill.
If you have grills around your apartment complex, check in with the maintenance team to ensure they’ve been serviced recently. For grills that you own, check to make sure they’re in working order. Pay close attention to the gas connection, checking to see that it’s tight and not leaking in any way.
Place the grill properly.
Grill Safety 101 starts with proper placement. Grills should never be placed within 10 feet of a structure. Ask your property manager if there is a specific distance requirement in your building. Grilling too close to a structure can pose a major fire hazard when you’re cooking. Be wary of grilling on balconies and porches, too. These can be ultra-tight spaces, making it difficult to control the flames of a firey grill. If you’re able, grill in an open area around your apartment, such as a courtyard or alleyway. If a balcony is your only option, never leave the grill unattended and be mindful of the flames at all times.
Keep a fire extinguisher handy.
Whether you’re cooking in your kitchen or grilling outside, a fire extinguisher should never be out of reach. Ensure that your fire extinguisher has been tested and is ready for use at a moments notice. If you don’t have a fire extinguisher, invest in one! In the meantime, use baking soda in case of an emergency. Never use water on a grease fire – it will only make the situation worse!
Protect little ones.
If you’re grilling around pets or young children, make sure they maintain a safe distance of at least three feet around the grill. This will help prevent them from being splattered with hot grease or attacked by potentially out-of-control flames. The greater the distance pets and kids keep away from the grill, the better.
Properly dispose of ashes.
Just because your food is done cooking doesn’t mean you’re done with the grill. Charcoal ashes and briquettes remain hot for a while and can combust into flames if left unattended. Dispose of them in a metal container to prevent this from happening.
Now that you’ve got a handle on safety, here are a few tips to get the most out of your grill this summer!
Understand the basics.
No matter what you’re cooking, it’s important to have a base understanding of how to grill a particular type of food. For example, meats grill very differently than vegetables. Each requires a different temperature and cook time. Familiarize yourself with different techniques by researching the best grilling methods for each recipe you’re going to try. Once you master the basics, you’ll be able to get crafty with different recipes and try new things.
Use the right tools.
As with any cooking endeavor, it’s all about the right tool for the right job. The flavor you want your food to have will help determine the type of grill you’ll need to use. For quick and easy grilling, gas grills are perfect. For that chargrilled flavoring, charcoal grills are your best bet. If you’re terrified of using a grill in the first place, introduce yourself to an electric grill. They’re perfect for beginners and extremely easy to use. Plus, they’re apartment friendly! As far as grilling utensils, there are a variety of grilling tools that can make your life simpler. Consider investing in the basics, including:
- Meat fork
- Marinade brush
- Carving board
- Meat-slicing knife
- Meat thermometer
Choose the right seasonings.
Spices, rubs, and marinades can completely transform the foods you’re preparing. They add an extra “oomph” to an ordinary piece of meat. Try different flavors to find what you like!
Remember – grilling should be safe and fun! Get out and grill this summer with these tips and tricks.