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by Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance

Enjoy grill season by keeping it safe!

Older couple safely grilling outside

It's finally here, the season of backyard BBQs, cornhole and outdoor fun is back! Time to put on your “kiss the cook” apron, slap some burgers on the grill and start grillin’ and chillin’. However, before you jump into the fun, remember the first rule of grilling season is keeping it safe! It’s important to understand the safety behind using a grill and being diligent in cleaning and keeping an eye on an 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 in the warmer weather by hosting festivities and hangouts with friends, family and neighbors. While your cookouts should be fun get-togethers, they should also 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 may increase the risk of fires or other accidents while operating the grill.  


Most of the time, grills can be found on a deck or porch near your home. Make sure your grill is at least 10 feet away from your home. Should an accident occur, this will help prevent damage to 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 it as well. 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’ve used your grill this season, you will need to take a few minutes to clean and inspect it for any cracking, rust, 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 or 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 playing children, 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 and pets 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 by following 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  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 other red meats should be 145-160°F and chicken should be at least 165°F.  


Not only is cooking the meat properly important, but safely handling and storing the food is imperative. Make sure that you and anyone else who touches raw meat properly washes their hands and any surface their hands or the meat touch 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 off your grill. Then, it is time to call the kids in from playing and start devouring your 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!  


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.