Heating up the grill? Keep safety first!

Heating up the grill? Keep safety first!

Before any outdoor cooking starts, make sure you know the facts about fire safety.

  • Grills pose fire dangers and are sources of carbon monoxide.
  • Always use grills away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • All grills should only be used outdoors.
  • Keep your grill clean of grease or fat buildup.
  • Never leave your grill unattended.

Propane grills:

  • Check hoses for any signs of damage and replace if needed.
  • Make sure there are no sharp bends in the hose or tubing.
  • Check for gas leaks. Open the valve that carries the gas. Put a soapy solution at the connection point. If bubbles appear, you have a leak. If making the connection tighter doesn’t help, close the valve and have the grill repaired.
  • If you smell gas while cooking, get away from the grill and call the fire department.

Charcoal Grills:

  • Use only charcoal starter fluid.
  • Never add flammable liquids to the fire.
  • If you use an electric charcoal starter, be sure to use an outdoor extension cord.
  • Let the coals cool before throwing away in a metal container.

Food safety matters whether inside or out

Whether you’re cooking in your kitchen or on the grill, safe food handling can mean the difference between a healthy meal and a doctor’s visit.

  • Never marinate food outside. Always marinate in the refrigerator.
  • If you want to use some of the marinade as a sauce, set some unused sauce aside for that. Don’t use sauce that was used to marinate raw.
  • If you partially cook food to reduce grilling time, put the food on the grill right away.
  • Cook food completely. Use a food thermometer to be sure meat and poultry has reached a safe internal temperature.
  • Keep hot food hot by moving it to the side of the grill until you’re ready to serve.
  • Have ice chests on hand to keep cold food cold until you’re ready to eat.
  • Use a clean plate when taking food off the grill. Reusing the same plate that held the raw meat could contaminate the cooked food.
  • When you're finished eating, refrigerate leftovers right away.

Barbecues and outdoor grilling have become a year-round way of cooking for many. But whether it’s a summer cook-out or grilling the New Year’s Day dinner, keeping safety in mind is key.

Sources: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission: U.S. Department of Agriculture