Grilling is a great leisure activity. You can spend quality time with family cooking outdoors in your calming enclosed patio. You can bond with friends and family over home-cooked delicious sausages and chicken wings. With a warm fire and the whiff of smoked meat, you’re sure to have a good time.
But one can easily get carried away with the thrill. Barbecues and grilling sessions are known to be the cause of frequent local fires and other troubles. It pays to bear some safety protocols in mind while handling the grill so as to avoid accidents.
Here are some basic grill safety rules that you should follow in order to avoid harm to your life and surroundings.
1. Grilling indoors
When you desperately want a plate of freshly smoked chicken ribs, don’t resort to a quick fix and grill indoors. The carbon monoxide (its colorless and odorless, by the way) released from the grill can be a health hazard. Besides you can’t eliminate the risk of fire due to flare-ups. No matter how small your smoked meal is going to be, grilling indoors is not safe and unacceptable.
2. Leaving a live grill unattended
Slow cooking on the grill can be quite time consuming. You may be tempted to let the meat cook on the open grill while you divert your attention to indoor tasks. This can be rather risky especially if you have kids and pets around the house. There may be sudden flare-ups and fire may break within seconds. It is important to always stay on the watch while the fire is on.
3. Ignoring fire safety precautions
Fires from outdoor grills can spread faster than you imagine. Trying to put out grease fire with water is never a good idea. You should always have a fire extinguisher or other reliable fire safety measures close at hand when using the grill. First aid tools can also come in handy in case of minor burns and emergencies.
4. Not cleaning the grill
Cleaning comes naturally to the obsessive compulsive ones. But the rest of us can always put off the chore to another day. When it comes to grilling, however, it’s not the best decision to skip cleaning. Grease and fat that builds up on the grill can contribute to flare-ups when you cook next time. Make sure you get rid of the gunk from the grates and the trays once you’re done grilling.
5. Not washing the vegetables
Your assumption that since you’re peeling fruits and cheapest vegetables you don’t need to rinse these is grossly mistaken. Without washing the green stuff, you can’t get rid of the pathogens and dirt on the surface. And peeling is only going to transfer these pathogens on the pulp. You don’t need special vegetable wash liquid though. Washing under running water is enough.
6. Washing meat and poultry
One of the most common mistakes that people make while grilling is to rinse meat and poultry prior to cooking. It is not possible to get rid of germs on the surface of meat and poultry by washing. In fact, doing this may only lead to splashing of germs and bacteria on the sink and countertop and contamination of other food items.
7. Thawing frozen raw meat at room temperature
Thawing raw meat on the counter means you’re letting bacteria and germs multiply a thousand-fold. It is unsafe to eat such contaminated food. It is recommended that raw frozen meat should be thawed in the refrigerator, in cold water or in the microwave. This allows for uniform thawing and reduces risk of contamination.
8. Crammed grill area
If you’ve decided to install your grilling station and bbq supplies in a constricted space, you need to think twice in terms of fire safety. Keeping the grill under a tree’s shade or closer to an awning or wall isn’t a great idea because sparks from the grill could easily set things to fire. Ensure that there is enough space around the grill for a safe environment.
9. Not using a meat thermometer
With plenty of distractions and the excitement of cooking outdoors, it is quite possible to overcook or undercook meat. Undercooked meat can be laden with harmful bacteria and unsuitable for consumption. And nobody enjoys burnt meat. Rather than trusting your intuition, use a meat thermometer to cook your food at the optimum temperature on the grill.
10. Forgetting to shut down the grill
You may feel too tired to finish the clean up after the barbecue party. But before you leave the grill area don’t ever forget to put out the grill fire. Ensure that the burners and the fuel supply for the gas grill is securely turned off before you leave the site. In case you’re using a charcoal grill, you should wait until the charcoal cools down and is safe for disposal.