Grill fires cause $37 million in property damage every year! That’s because many people start using a grill without knowing some basic safety precautions. To avoid injury and financial loss, read these 7 tips for hosting a successful barbecue.
1. Keep your grill clean.
Leftover food particles can get burned onto your next meal, which is a health hazard. Those particles also make your grill more of a fire hazard. Did you know that a clean grill cooks your food more efficiently? In addition to the problems mentioned above, leftover food particles cause your grill to heat unevenly, which causes slower cook times. You should also consider doing a semi-regular deep-clean of your grill to help it last longer! A good grill should last a long time! Gas grills can last between 5 and 15 years depending on the level of care.
2. Don’t overload your grill.
Overloading your grill causes unevenly cooked food. Cooking meat evenly at the proper temperature is necessary to kill dangerous bacteria. Grill flare-ups can happen as a result of fat or oil dripping onto hot coals or wood. Flare-ups are much more likely to occur with too much food (especially fatty meats) on your grill. As a rule of thumb, try not to grill more than 2 or 3 different things at the same time, and make sure they have plenty of room.
3. Wear the right clothes while you grill.
Loose fitting, dangling fabrics can easily catch fire while you’re grilling. This is also true of jewelry and other accessories. If you have long hair, you’ll want to tie it back or tuck it under a hat. Wearing an apron can help keep any loose bits of clothing tucked in. It will also
protect your outfit from spills, splatters, and smells.
4. Avoid cross contaminating food.
Once again, starting with a clean grill is important. It reduces your exposure to bacteria. Use different utensils for different food items, or clean your utensils after using them on things like raw meat. You’ll also want to use separate plates for uncooked food and cooked food. Or, just like the utensil rule, clean your plates after they’ve had raw food on them, then use them again for the cooked food.
5. Have baking soda on hand for potential grease fires.
Grease fires start when cooking oils get too hot. It can take less than 30 seconds for a grease fire to start once oil starts smoking. In the event of a SMALL grease fire, you can smother the flames with baking soda or salt. In the event of a larger fire, call 911 and use a fire extinguisher. It’s important to know how to use a fire extinguisher before a fire happens. Don’t try to figure it out in an emergency situation.
6. Offer non-alcoholic beverages.
Offer 2-3 non-alcoholic beverages other than water. If you and your guests are drinking alcohol, make sure everyone has a safe way home and stays hydrated. Make sure you have plenty of water, ready to serve and easily accessible. One option would be to have water (or other non-alcoholic drinks) set up in a drink dispenser.
7. Social distance together.
With the continued presence of COVID-19, it’s important to keep social distancing in mind. Keep people seated together, but space out tables and chairs if you can. Have sanitizer and wipes where guests can access them. Put them at the end of serving stations - where everyone is touching the same utensils. Make sure hand soap in your bathroom and at your kitchen sink is stocked up. Also have clean towels for drying hands!