It's finally upon us, the season of backyard BBQs and cornhole! Time to take out your “kiss the cook” apron, put some burgers on the grill and start grillin’ and chillin’. The first step before enjoying the many pleasures of grilling season is understanding that you need to be diligent with cleaning and keeping an eye on the active grill.
Having a cookout in your backyard is not only a fun activity, but it is perfect for hanging out with family and friends and enjoying the beautiful weather Indiana has to offer. Hoosiers all over the state will soon be planning celebrations of warm weather by hosting festivities and hangouts among friends, family and neighbors. And while your outdoor cookouts should be fun get-togethers, it’s also a good idea to follow safety precautions so that everyone stays safe while having a great time!
What are the top safety tips while maneuvering a grill?
A grill is a large piece of equipment that must be handled with care. If you have a gas grill, you will want to make sure that there are no gas leaks. A gas leak increases the risk of fires or other accidents while operating a grill.
Most of the time, grills can be found on a deck or porch near your home, but make sure it is at least 10 feet away. This will help prevent accidents from occurring that could damage your home. Not only should you keep your grill a good distance away from your home, but you should keep décor and outdoor furniture away from the grill. Remember, a grill is not a toy and should be handled with care and caution.
A grill is wonderful for cooking up your favorite summer staples like hamburgers and hotdogs, but you must always remember that it is still a piece of cooking equipment that needs to be handled with great care. You can never be too careful when it comes to an outdoor BBQ, so if you are looking for more grill safety tips you can check out the CDC guidelines for more food safety information!
How to properly clean your grill after winter
If this is the first time you have used your grill this season, you will need to take a few minutes to clean and inspect it for any cracking, holes or leaks before igniting it. Participating in a general checkup of your grill may save you from a catastrophe in your backyard that could even affect your home and your loved ones.
Never use your grill indoors and make sure that it is located far away from siding, eaves and awnings, as well as trees and bushes that could potentially ignite.
Not only should you keep the grill away from things that can catch on fire, but make sure your grill isn’t in the line of flying baseballs, Frisbees or volleyballs. When it’s time to start cooking, make sure everyone around you knows that the grill is on and hot.
Keep kids away from the grill to decrease the chances of injuries. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reports that many grill fires lead to injuries and property damage that can be avoided with these precautions annually.
What can I make on the grill?
Next, it’s time to focus on the food! If you are planning on cooking any meat on the grill, Food Safety.gov states that most food poisoning occurs from undercooked food. This means that it is in your best interest to use a food thermometer to ensure your meat is thoroughly cooked: Beef and red meats – 145-160°F and chicken – 165°F.
Not only is cooking the meat properly important, but safely handling and storing the food is imperative. Make sure that you or anyone else who touches raw meat properly washes their hands and the surfaces their hands or the meat touches immediately.
This grill season try something new and try grilled watermelon. Not only is watermelon a good source of vitamin C and potassium, but it can be a complimentary dish to any main course during a cookout. When you grill watermelon, it will caramelize the fruit’s sweetness and give the melon a unique smokey flavor.
Once you have grilled your meat, vegetables, watermelon or other dishes, be sure to turn your grill off. Then, it is time to call the kids in from playing and start devouring some delicious and flavorful food. If you end up having leftovers from your meal, make sure to put them in storage containers and refrigerate immediately.
Enjoy the great outdoors!
Having a cookout is the perfect way to enjoy time with family and friends and appreciate the warm and sunny weather Indiana has to offer. Use your good common sense while keeping these grilling safety tips in mind and have a safe and yummy grill season!
*The information in this article was compiled from a variety of sources and is intended to provide helpful tips only.