It is definitely that time of the year again, the time to get outside and grill. All across the United States you will smell the aroma of meat roasting and hear the sound of laughter fill the air. The fourth of July is just around the corner and many people are getting their grills cleaned and serviced to ensure proper working order for the holiday.
While many people fill their minds with recipes, ideas or ways to have fun for this holiday, we should also remember it is a time to think about safety.
The first thing we will go over is charcoal grills. Many people do not realize the amount of carbon monoxide that is released in the air when you grill over charcoal. Never grill in an enclosed area. Always make sure there is adequate ventilation where you are operating the grill. Make sure once you are done with the grill that you allow it time to fully extinguish the flames and coals before handling it or storing it again. Carbon monoxide can be released even after you are finished cooking so it is best not to store your grill in doors until it is cool and clean.
Always have water ready to put out flames from fatty meats such as pork or hamburger. You can fill a small squirt bottle or have a glass or pitcher near to take care of this. Also make sure you are near a working water hose in case an accident happens and the grill is overturned or sparks a fire. When using a charcoal grill make sure you pay attention to the grill at all times and never leave it unattended.
Before using your grill make sure you thoroughly clean the grill grates to remove old food debris left behind. To avoid sticking, you can also use tin foil coating with pan spray like Pam.
Now we have a clean grill with adequate ventilation outdoors, our water is on hand and ready for any emergency and need to make sure we have a no play zone around the grill. Many times children get outdoors and do not pay attention to where they are running so for safety purposes we need to map out a no play zone so people can notice there is a potential hazard here. Make sure you have the grill positioned at least 3 feet from any building, cars, home, shrubs or plants to avoid a fire hazard. Make sure your grill is completely cool before disposing of the coals. It is also a good idea to soak the coals with water once they are cool to make sure they do not reignite.
Now for the gas grill. Many of the safety tips are the same for the gas grills as with charcoal ones. The no play zone is a must for any outdoor cooking as well as water for emergencies. Also with gas grills you should check to make sure the knobs and valves are not leaking gas anywhere. Check the hoses to make sure they are not brittle or cracked also check for any kinks in the hoses. Always make sure you follow the instructions that came with your grill to ensure proper use and inspection. Handle the gas tank with care and never attempt to repair a propane tank yourself. You should take it to an authorized propane dealer and have them to do any repairs on it. Always operate your grill with the gas valve no more than Ã?Â½ ways turned up. Follow the proper sequence for starting your propane grill which is
1. Open the grill lid
2. Turn on the gas supply
3. Turn the ignition lighter to high
4. Light the ignition
5. Turn on the second burner if needed. Completing these steps as listed will protect you from possible gas build up and explosion which will cause injury or harm.
Also a word should be said about cross contamination. Never use plates, platters, utensils etc. on cooked meat if they have been used on raw meat. It can make everyone very sick. Also keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Never allow meat to lay out in the heat before cooking it. Keep raw meats in cold places until the grill is ready to use.
If you follow these tips to aid in making sure your grill is clean and safe before operating it then it will make for a much happier holiday for you and your family. Grill injuries are very common for this time of the year and waiting in the emergency room is no fun for anyone and no cause for celebration. Have fun and be safe all through the summer.