We all love a good BBQ, don’t we? The sizzle of the grill, the mouthwatering aroma of food cooking, and the joy of sharing a meal outdoors with friends and family.
But let’s not forget safety is key when we’re dealing with open flames and hot coals.
So, I’ve put together this handy checklist to help you keep your BBQ fun and, most importantly, safe. They are not numbered in order of importance as they as all very important.
From setting up your grill to serving up your delicious dishes, these tips will ensure you can relax and enjoy your BBQ with peace of mind.
1. Keep The Grill Stable
Ensuring your grill is stable is the first step to a safe BBQ. A wobbly grill can tip over, spilling hot coals or knocking over a gas canister.
Always set up your grill on a flat surface, and double-check its stability before you start cooking.
2. Maintain A Safe Distance
Your grill should be positioned away from your home, deck railings, and low-hanging tree branches. This is because grills can throw off sparks that might ignite nearby objects.
A safe distance helps prevent accidental fires and keeps your BBQ fun and worry-free.
3. Regular Cleaning
Grease and fat buildups from previous BBQs can provide fuel for a fire to get out of control. Regular cleaning not only extends the life of your grill but also makes your food taste better.
So, after each use, once the grill has cooled down, give it a good scrub.
4. Check For Gas Leaks
For gas grills, a propane leak can lead to a dangerous fire or explosion. Before each use, check the gas tank hose for leaks, the connections for rust, or something that needs to be replaced or repaired.
You can give a light spray of soapy water to suspected areas. If bubbles form or you see something questionable, do not use it.
5. Never Leave The Grill Unattended
An unattended grill is a fire hazard. Fires can flare up and get out of control in a matter of seconds.
Always have someone keep an eye on the grill from the moment you light it until you’re sure it’s completely extinguished.
6. Keep Children And Pets Away
Children and pets are naturally curious and may want to get close to the grill. However, they could easily get burned or knock over the grill.
Establish a safety zone around your barbecue or grill, and make sure kids and pets stay outside of it.
7. Use Lighter Fluid Responsibly
Charcoal starter fluid can be a helpful tool for starting your charcoal BBQ, but it must be used with caution. Only apply it to cold, unlit coals, and never add it to a lit grill. A little goes a long way.
After applying, give it a moment to soak into the coals before lighting. And remember, always store lighter fluid safely away from heat sources and out of reach of children and pets.
8. Have A Fire Extinguisher Ready For Grill Fires
Grill fires can flare up quickly, so it’s important to be prepared. Always keep a fire extinguisher nearby when you’re grilling.
If a grease fire occurs, remember not to use water to put it out, as it can cause the fire to spread.
Always keep a close eye on your BBQ to catch and control any flare-ups before they can escalate.
9. Don’t Move The Grill Once Lit
Moving a lit grill is a recipe for disaster. You could easily spill hot coals, tip over the grill, or even burn yourself. Once your grill is lit, leave it in place until it’s cooled down completely.
10. Don’t Overload The Grill
Overloading your grill with too much food, especially fatty meats, can cause a flare-up. A flare-up can be dangerous, potentially causing burns or spreading fire. It’s safer to cook in batches.
11. Use Long-handled Tools
Using long-handled tools designed for grilling can help prevent burns and splatters.
These tools give you the ability to flip and move food around without getting your hands too close to the heat.
12. Wait For The Grill To Cool Down
Before you move or clean your grill, you need to wait for it to cool down completely. Touching a hot grill can cause severe burns, and trying to clean it while it’s hot can lead to injuries.
13. Grill In Well-Ventilated Areas
Grilling produces smoke and carbon monoxide, which is harmful if inhaled in large amounts. Always grill in an area that’s well-ventilated to ensure the smoke can disperse safely.
14. Dress Appropriately
Loose clothing can easily catch fire, so it’s important to wear the right attire when grilling. Opt for a well-fitting, short-sleeved top, or roll up your sleeves. Flame and heat-resistant gloves or mitts are also a good idea when handling hot pans and pots.
15. Use A Thermometer
Using a meat thermometer isn’t just about getting your steak to the perfect medium-rare. It’s also a matter of safety.
Different types of meat need to be cooked to different internal temperatures to kill harmful bacteria. A good food thermometer takes the guesswork out of this process.
16. Properly Extinguish And Shutdown
After you’re done grilling, it’s crucial to properly shut things down.
- Charcoal grills: Let the coals cool completely and then safely dispose of them in a metal container.
- Gas grills: Turn off the burners and the fuel supply.
No matter which method you’ve finished cooking with, let them cool completely before covering or storing it. This step is crucial to prevent accidental fires and ensure the longevity of your equipment.