I wanted to do this post last month but I got so caught up in life that it just didn’t happen. Now that the weather has warmed up most of us are firing up the BBQ, some of us don’t let snow and cold weather interrupt their grill season. I thought it would be a good idea to write a post here about grilling safety and proper grill maintenance.
Starting out the post with buying a BBQ.
- Determine at this point what kind of Grill Master you want to be. If your like me and will want to grill all season you may want to look into something that well tolerate weather damage and be rust resistant.
- How many people do you intend to cook for? If your only cooking for yourself or a small family than you don’t need all the excess that some BBQ’s come equipped for.
- How much space do you have for the BBQ
- What kind of heat source are you looking for; charcoal, propane, or gas.
- Maximum heat potential of the BBQ, in metric measured as BTU (British Thermal Unit) Measuring the maximum heat per hour. The higher the BTU the more energy the Grill will cost.
- How much your willing to spend, taking note of the quality of materials used as there are many different shapes, materials, add on accessories, and actual grill’s to consider when choosing the BBQ.
Once you have answered these questions and you have determined the type of Grill Master you want to be and have narrowed down your search perhaps even purchased your BBQ already. Read through your manual carefully as this will tell you specific care details, maintenance, as well as any assembly that may be required. Now that you’ve done all that don’t just stand there and marvel at your new shiny toy lets grill something, but first lets make sure we know how to grill safely.
- Location. Always grill outside in a well ventilated area away from any obstructions and away from any heat sources. Including but limited to; tree branches, debris in and around the area, decorations such as hanging baskets, deck furniture, buildings, deck railings, and roof overhangs. Make sure that pets or children are kept at a safe distance from the BBQ. Ensure the grill itself is placed on level ground and any propane cylinders are safely stored.
- Equipment. Dress for the occasion make sure you are not wearing anything that could potentially catch fire. Wear an apron to protect your clothing and be sure all apron ties are secured in a way they will not dangle in or near the flames. Use clean long handled utensils and have a pair of oven mitts on hand. Keep a spray bottle with water nearby in the event you need to douse a smaller flame as this well not jeopardize your food. Be sure also to have a fire extinguisher in the event the fire from your BBQ gets out of hand and needs to be extinguished, familiarize yourself with how to use it as well. Baking soda can be used to extinguish grease fires but is not a replacement for a fire extinguisher. A grill pad can also be purchased to protect your deck from any grease dripping.
- Cleanliness. Proper cleaning and maintenance is essential for your BBQ and food preparation requirements. Clean your Barbecue regularly, Grease can build up in the bottom very quickly and can cause a major fire hazard. You should be cleaning the grills before and after cooking anything to avoid cross contaminating your food as well as removing any build up that may occur.
- Inspection. Depending on the type of grill you choose to buy you will need to properly insect your BBQ for leaks before igniting. I have provided links below that will go over this step further and if you have read you manual you may already be equipped with the information needed.
- Supervision. This is an important one, never leave your grill unattended even for a minute. Have everything you need ready to go before you even ignite your fire and stay attentive the entire time. This includes but is not limited to; keeping pets and children playing safely away from the grill, and any intoxicated persons well away from Grill station.
Now are we ready to grill? Almost, lets quickly go over some food safety rules. If you are the cook in the family than you may already know this information but a refresher never hurt anyone.
- Cleanliness. All cooking utensils, vessels, and equipment must be cleaned and kept clean during the cooking process. This includes your hands, wash your hands thoroughly and keep them clean throughout the entire cooking process. Make sure your food is also cleaned properly and does not come in contact with anything it shouldn’t.
- Preparation. As we have already touched on you are going to want to have all your food already prepped and ready to grill. When doing this be sure to use clean utensils and be sure to avoid cross contamination by prepping your vegetables and meats separate from each other. Use proper food handling procedures at all times. Ensure that if anyone your cooking for has a food allergy so you can take proper procedures so that it doesn’t come in contact with their food in the slightest.
- Temperature. Keep food out of the “Danger Zone” (70 and 117 °F). Keep food refrigerated until you are ready to cook. To kill any bacteria in food it must reach an internal temperature of 165 °F. After food has been brought to temperature allow to cool or “rest” for only a couple minutes, consume, and refrigerate any left overs avoiding the danger zone once again. Putting hot food in the fridge covered may cause it to chill too quickly and sour so this step too is important. Always ensure your food has been cooked properly and thoroughly, if you suspect that the food may be unsafe to consume than don’t serve it.
*** This article is merely a guideline please do not use this as your only source of information when grilling, handling a fire situation, and food safety procedures. If there is anything your not sure of please do educate yourself before operating a BBQ. This is no joke thousands of people die or become ill every year due to improper barbecuing and food handling procedures. Protect yourself and grill smart. ***
Now unleash your inner Grill Master!