Outdoor Grilling Safety Tips

Choosing a Grill

Cooking food outdoors is easy while giving it a fantastic flavor. There are several types of fuel available to provide heat for grilling vegetables, meat and other foods outdoors. It is imperative that individuals use safety precautions while cooking near the hot flames of an outdoor grill. There are grills fueled by coal, pellets, propane and wood. Outdoor chefs can choose to use a portable tabletop grill for small meals at a campground or at home. Alternatively, there are much larger grills suitable for backyard parties.

 

Proper Grilling Placement

All grills must sit on a level and sturdy surface away from structures and trees. It is important to remember that hot sparks can easily fly on wooden patios or balconies causing a fire. Only responsible adults should start an outdoor fire while remaining vigilant at all times to prevent fire accidents. Before starting a fire in a grill, fill containers with water to keep nearby. Many cooks keep a garden’s water hose ready to put out fires from grills. However, if there is no water pressure, then a fire can spread rapidly. An additional precaution is making sure pets and children are away from the grilling area to avoid accidents.

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Preparing grill for grilling
By Frettie (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Avoid Smoke and Flames

Coal and wood fires can take a long time to get hot enough for cooking. Do not try to accelerate a fire by pouring extra starter fluid or gasoline on the fuel. Wear long oven mitts to prevent painful burns on the arms and hands. Chefs should avoid getting the face or hair near the flames. Do not grill outdoors on windy days when flames can easily change directions creating a fire hazard. The smoke from grilling is dangerous to breathe, because it contains a dangerous odorless gas. Never bring an outdoor grill inside a building while cooking to avoid death from carbon monoxide fumes.

 

Do Not Drink Alcohol

Many outdoor chefs enjoy cooking on propane or gas grills. Before turning on the grill, verify that the lines leading from the tank are tight and not frayed. Never use a match near a gas or propane grill to avoid explosions. Watch carefully to make sure the grill is heating properly to avoid gas buildup inside the cooking area. Extra propane tanks require storage in a safe location away from hot grills and homes. Alcohol consumption while cooking on a grill is a bad plan because motor functions and thinking skills become impaired.

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Avoid Food Spoilage

Keep food meant for grilling in a cold environment such as a refrigerator, freezer or camping cooler filled with ice. Chicken, beef and pork can quickly develop bacteria before a grill is ready for cooking. Spoiled food can easily cause illness from bacteria causing symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Chefs should use an outdoor cooking food thermometer for fish, pork, chicken, lamb and beef to make sure meats reach a safe internal temperature. After food is cooked on an outdoor grill, it should immediately be served or refrigerated to prevent spoilage.

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