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By NPI, Inc.


NPI Marketing Team
NPI Marketing Team

    

10 Barbecue Safety Tips That'll Save Your Eyebrows

Grilling out is the quintessential summer pastime, up there with baseball and slip n’ slide. Outdoor grills have become a common appliance (61 percent of households own a gas grill and 41 percent have a charcoal grill), so it’s not surprising that we tend to take our safety for granted when we use them.

When you think about it, though, grills can be dangerous—in fact, gas and charcoal grills cause over nine thousand home fires per year. The good news is, mishaps like these are easy to avoid if you follow a few simple barbecue safety tips!

1. Keep the grill away from your house.
This may seem like it goes without saying, but seriously, keep your grill away from the house. At least 10 feet is a must, but even more if you can. The last thing you want is a gust of wind blowing stray embers at your siding or up into the gutters. Also, be aware of pergolas, trees or other things above your grill, and move it so you’re cooking out in the open.

2. Keep your grill stable.
You’ll also want to make sure that your grill is placed on a level, hard and stable surface before you start. Place the grill where you think it should be, then test to see if it’s likely to wobble or tip. If it does, find another place for it. Don’t rely on homemade shims under the feet of your grill table to level it, and don’t grill on soft surfaces like the lawn.

3. Work with a clean grill.
One of the biggest causes of grill fires is excess grease build-up on the cooking surface or underneath the grates. Before you start the festivities, take a few minutes to give your grill a deep cleaning. For cast iron or stainless steel grates, mix up a paste of equal parts baking soda and water, coat the grates with the paste and let it set for about 20 minutes. Afterward, scrub with a grill brush and you’re set. You can also apply a thin coat of vegetable oil to cast iron grates to fend off rust.

For ceramic grates you can use the same paste, but avoid using a metal grill brush as this can lead to scratches and chips in the surface. It’s better to use a gentler scrubbing method like a grill sponge when you’re dealing with ceramic.

4. Check for leaks in the gas line.
Mix a solution of water and dish soap (about equal parts of each) and rub it on the hoses and connecting points of the grill. Turn on the gas, and if you see large bubbles starting to form, this is a sure sign of a gas leak. Replace every damaged connection or hose before you start cooking.

5. Don’t turn on the gas with the grill cover closed.
It’s easy to overlook this, but turning the gas on with the grill cover closed is dangerous because it causes gas to collect in a small area. Try to light your grill then and you could end up with a fireball. Save your facial hair instead by only turning on the gas with the grill cover up.

6. Use lighter fluid correctly.
People tend to use lighter fluid a little too liberally with their charcoal grills. To use it most effectively, lightly saturate the coals (less is better) and give it a few minutes to soak in so any excess gas can have a chance to dissipate. From there, light the coals and only add more fluid if the coals are difficult to light. Don’t add lighter fluid once the fire is going, and don’t ever use other flammable liquids like kerosene to start your charcoal grill.

7. Expect a fire.
It always pays to plan for the worst case scenario, including any grilling disasters you may run into. You should have a large supply of baking soda on hand to smother a grease fire, as well as a fire extinguisher for things that get really out of hand. Don’t try to put water on a grill fire—this will cause splattering which could lead to injury.

8. Don’t overcrowd the cooking surface.
Flare-ups are common whenever you’re cooking meat on a grill—the fat will render out and drip into the fire, and that’s fine. The important thing is to leave enough space so you can move whatever you’re cooking out of the fire to another spot on the grill. This will help keep your burgers from burning and minimize flare-ups so you don’t have to bring out the fire extinguisher.

9. Wear appropriate clothing.
Treat grilling the same way you’d cook indoors—no loose sleeves, long hair tied back. These things don’t mix well with open flames, so keep them well away from the grill and save yourself a surprise trip to the emergency room.

10. Clean up ashes the right way.
Once you’re done grilling with charcoal, you’ll want to give the ashes plenty of time to cool down before you clean up. Since ashes can remain hot enough to start a fire for hours after they’re not actively burning, make sure you put ashes in a non-combustible container before you dispose of them, and never put them directly in a trashcan.

 

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