There’s nothing quite like spending a summer evening barbecuing with family and friends. But remember, grilling involves fire and no one wants to end up at the hospital during the quarantine summer of 2020. Concerned about cookout safety this summer? Take heed these tips.
Put it out fast. Have a fire extinguisher within easy reach – and know how to use it. Even though most people have a fire extinguisher in the general vicinity of their kitchen, probably very few people have actually used one. To do this, first pull the pin. Aim the hose at the base of the fire. Squeeze the handle to release the contents. Spray the flames until they’re out
Pop the lid. Open the lid before lighting the grill. Rule number one of gas grills is that your grill’s lid should be open if you’re going to turn on the gas. If you forget this, when it comes time to ignite the burners you’ll hear a loud POP which can be pretty scary, especially if you intended on keeping your eyebrows in tact.
Ask an expert. Grilling rookies should get a crash course in cooking with fire before embarking on their first barbecue. Ask someone more experienced with grilling food, to give you a lesson. Have them run through everything step by step, from turning on and heating the grill, to cleaning the grates, to cooking food over a flame, to plating and then turning off the gas and cutting off the propane supply.
Watch your cigs. Keep lit cigarettes and matches away from the propane tank. Sure, the movies always show guys grilling with cigarettes dangling from their lips. This is probably a bad habit to get into, especially if you’re grilling with gas. So if you feel like lighting up, let it be far away from the flames.
Don’t get too lit. Do not allow people who have been imbibing in alcoholic beverages to cook on the grill unattended. There’s always that one guy at the party who’s had a few too many. Luckily, drunk people are easily distracted. So if you see one attempting to cook food on the grill, you can lure him away pretty easily. Better safe than sorry – house fires have happened because of drunk people getting a strong urge for barbecued chicken at the wrong time.
Kids, stay back. Prevent children and pets from hanging around the grill when in use. It’s okay to yell at kids when there’s fire afoot.
Oil on the grill = bad. Do not pour cooking oil directly onto food that is being grilled. This could start a fire. If you want to add a little healthy oil to your grilled veggies, chicken or fish, pack up the food in a neat little foil pouch or a special grilling pan. Drizzle some oil over the top, toss, then cover with the foil and pop onto the grill for some indirect heat.
Baking soda = good. Keep baking soda at the ready in case a grill fire starts. Water is no good for a grill fire. If you see one breaking out, go for the nearest big box of baking soda. It will snuff out the fire instantly.
Turn it off when not in use. This is very important, and part of grilling 101. When finished using the grill, be sure that all knobs have been turned off, and that the propane knob has been turned to the Off position as well. Leaking propane poses a fire risk… and you just don’t want your propane running out anyway.
Now that you know how to avoid barbecuing calamities this summer, fire up the grill and enjoy!
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