Our favorite summer parties include friends, family and delicious food from the grill. Whether it’s tender meats or savory vegetables, food just seems to taste better when it’s fresh off the grill. When grilling, it’s easy to focus on how much fun you’re having and forget about potential hazards. We’ve compiled important safety tips to keep you safe all summer long.
Before you grill:
Ideal grill placement
Keep your grill, both charcoal and gas, at least 10 feet away from house, including garages, carports, and porches. This protects your house and car in case of fire.
Keep the grill clean
A buildup of grease on your grill can lead to flare ups. To help prevent fires, clean your grill after each use. As an added benefit, cooking on clean grill grates will vastly improve the taste of your food!
Defrost food properly
Meat should be defrosted and marinated in the refrigerator rather than a countertop. This will prevent salmonella and listeria from growing. Defrosted food also cooks more evenly on the grill.
Be sure to wash all fruits and vegetables before cooking them. A 2013 study by the U.S. Center for Disease Control found that 46% of all food borne illnesses are caused by produce.
When grilling on either charcoal or a propane grill:
Open lid before lighting grill
Never turn on the gas while your grill lid is closed. Doing so causes gas to build up inside your grill and can be very dangerous.
Use caution with lighter fluid
Use charcoal starter fluid before lighting your charcoal. Do not add fluid to an already lit fire because the flames can flashback into the container and explode.
Cook food thoroughly
Just by looking, it’s very hard to tell if your meat is cooked to the correct internal temperature. Inserting our Precision Pro Digital Food Thermometer in the thickest part of the meat will give you a definitive answer. Proper temperatures are: poultry – 165 degrees; burgers, pork, and steak – 145 for medium rare and 160 degrees for medium. GRAPHIC
Separate vegetables and meat
Drippings from meat can contaminate vegetables, and vegetables do not cook long enough to burn off any bacteria. Use separate cutting boards and areas of the grill to cut down chances of food borne illnesses.
Cook meat at a lower temperature to prevent charring. Cooking meats at high temperatures causes a reaction that creates carcinogenic compounds called HCAs (heterocyclic amines) to form on food.
Keep away little hands and paws
The scents of food and sheer curiosity can be a draw for kids and pets. Be sure to keep them away from the area, as the grill can remain hot for several hours.
Wash hands often
Food prep means washing your hands frequently, especially after handling meat. If you are not near a water source, bring along moist towelettes or wipes to keep hands clean from bacteria.
When serving food:
Use separate plates
Never serve food on plates that previously held raw meat or unwashed produce.
Keep foods the proper temperature
Keep cooked foods hot and cold foods cold. Keep meat warm on the grill and use ice for mayonnaise based salads, cheese, and other foods that need to be kept cold.
Cover serving bowls
Keep bugs and critters out of your food by covering serving bowls.
Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours
Food should be refrigerated within 2 hours to prevent it from spoiling. Food that has been sitting out longer than that should be thrown away. It’s not always possible to smell or taste when food is not safe to eat.
Reheat to proper temperatures
When reheating food, it should reach a safe temperature of 165° Fahrenheit. This helps burn off any surface bacteria that may have developed.
It is possible to have a fantastic barbecue while keeping the cost within your budget, How to Plan the Ultimate Backyard BBQ Without Breaking the Bank.