It’s Memorial Day weekend! How are you celebrating? If you’re like millions of other Americans, you’re cooking out to enjoy your three days of freedom and honor the American troops. But before you break out the barbeque, ensure you’re throwing a safe cookout by being prepared and paying attention. Last year, nearly 18,000 people were sent to the emergency room because of grill injuries. From food poisoning to fire hazards, cookouts are full of danger. With a few simple steps before, during and after your barbeque, you can ensure a long, safe summer of cookouts!
Before You Grill:
Get the Grease Out. It’s easy for grease to collect and build up at the bottom of your grill after just a few cookouts, which can cause a dangerous flare-up.
Be Prepared. If you do have a grease fire, you should use baking soda to control it, not water. Keep baking soda at arms length, just in case. Also, always know where your fire extinguisher is located and be sure it’s in working condition. If you’re unsure, read this: Inspect Fire Extinguishers.
Clean the Cooking Grates. Scrub the grates with a stiff-wire brush and warm, soapy water. To learn more about cleaning your grill, read: How To Throw A Lean, Mean & Green Memorial Day Cookout.
Wash the Interior of the Grill. Combine one part distilled white vinegar and one part water in a spray bottle. Coat the interior of the grill and let it stand for an hour. The vinegar will break up burnt particles, making it easier to wipe down with a wet cloth.
Check Hoses on Gas Grills. Inspect your hoses for any cracking, holes, or leaks. Make sure there are no kinks in the tubing. If you see problems, replace your hose.
As You Grill:
Avoid Food Poisoning. Be aware of food safety when cooking raw foods. Raw meat is the main part of any cookout. Don’t give bacteria a chance to spread to other ingredients by keeping raw meats separate from the rest of your meal. Another quick tip: Remember to keep your meats cold until you’re ready to fire up the grill.
Only Use the Proper Lighter Fluid. If you’re out of charcoal lighter fluid, don’t use kerosene or gasoline. Be patient when waiting for the grill to start. Don’t keep adding lighter fluid!
After You Grill:
Keep Flies Away. Keep flies away from prepared foods to avoid getting sick from bacteria. Flies carry as many as six million bacteria on their feet. To learn more about pest prevention, read: Pest Control: Things With Wings
Properly Store Your Tank. If you have a gas grill, store your propane tank outside and out of direct sunlight, and always keep it upright.
Properly Store Your Grill. If you have a charcoal grill, do not store it indoors after extinguishing the freshly used coals. Charcoal produces carbon dioxide fumes and can be hazardous to your health without proper ventilation.
Great grill recipes:
- The Last Order
- Heart Healthy Living
- Another Pint Please
- Kitchen Confidante
- Sister Survivors
- Sweet Paul
- Cook Au Vin