Make any party better when you follow BBQ safety tips made to keep the good times rollin'.
Nothing says celebration like a good BBQ. Safety, however, isn't always on your mind when you have food on the grill. Let's be honest; almost everything tastes better when you cook it over an open flame. But the same open flame that flavors your burgers can also ruin your BBQ in a flash.
There's no need to go into the details of BBQ accidents. You don't need much imagination to know what can happen with open flames, lighter fluid, propane tanks, and hot surfaces—especially if you mix in kids, pets, and alcohol. But a little BBQ safety can go a long way in minimizing the dangers while maximizing the fun.
Grilling Safety Tips
According to the National Fire Protection Association, there are an average of 9,000 grill-related fires and 17,000 emergency room visits each year. These tips will help you avoid being among those numbers.
1. Clean your grill
Dirty grills lead to 19% of all grill fires. Besides, a grill covered in grease is not the most appetizing cooking surface.
2. Check for leaks
If you have a gas grill, check the lines for twisting or kinks and make sure the lines are free of leaks.
3. Position the grill correctly
Keep your grill outdoors and away from your home, trees, awnings or umbrellas, and deck railings. As much as the shade of a tent seems appealing while you're grilling, hot flames and flammable fabrics just aren't a good mix.
4. Dress appropriately
That loose, tropical shirt may be ideal for summer days, but it's not great for grilling. Loose clothing can catch fire faster than you may realize.
5. Keep your supplies nearby
Get everything together before you light the grill. Leaving it unattended opens up the possibility of kids or pets getting too close or a fire getting out of hand.
6. Keep fire safety in mind
BBQ safety is, in large part, fire safety. Keep a fire extinguisher or baking soda nearby in case your fire gets out of control. *Note: Do NOT use water in the event of a grease fire. It will explode.
7. Light charcoal the right way
If you're using a charcoal grill, do not douse it with gasoline or any fire accelerant other than starter fluid specifically designed for charcoal. And don't add more once you've lit the fire.
8. Light your gas grill the right way
Make sure the lid is open before you turn on the gas. A closed lid will trap the gas, creating the perfect build up for a small explosion when you light it.
The Hidden Dangers of BBQ Cooking
Not all BBQ safety tips are for the grill. Sometimes, a BBQ can cause problems away from the flame.
9. Get a new brush
You need to clean your grill regularly, but you also need to replace that metal brush regularly. Those metal bristles can break off and end up in your food. In fact, there were over 1,600 emergency room visits between 2002 and 2014 due to grill brush injuries.
10. Keep it cool
That chicken salad that's been on the patio table all afternoon is your ticket to food poisoning. Cold foods need to stay cool either by keeping them in the refrigerator when you aren't eating them or by putting them out in a tray of ice.
11. Keep it hot
Hot foods, on the other hand, need to stay hot until they're ready to serve. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of your burgers and hot dogs and serve them right away once they're done.
12. Keep it clean
Don't put cooked meat or vegetables on the same plate as raw meat. Any germs from the raw meat juices can easily contaminate your cooked food.
13. Put that fire out
Charcoal in a grill burns around 500º Fahrenheit. The coals can stay hot enough to start a fire long after you're done cooking. Make sure the coals are cool before leaving your grill and don't throw hot coals in a garbage can where they could ignite something.
14. Shut it down
If you use a gas grill, turn off the burners when you are done AND turn off the fuel supply.
15. Store your tanks upright
Keep your extra propane tanks outdoors and upright. And when you refill them, don't forget to take them out of your trunk when you get home. Hot tanks can ignite and make short work of your car.
As a bonus tip, get in touch with your Pekin Insurance agent to make sure your homeowners insurance is up to date. Then relax knowing your insurance needs are taken care of while you take care of the weekend grilling.