The season of backyard BBQs and cornhole is upon us! Time to take out your “kiss the cook” apron, put some burgers on the grill and start cooking. Understanding that you need to be diligent with cleaning and keeping an eye on the active grill is the first step in the right direction of grill safety!
There is no better way to have fun than by having a cookout in your own backyard. Hoosiers will soon be planning to celebrate the Fourth of July with their annual festivities. Although many vacations, activities and events have been put on hold this year, the annual tradition of cooking out on the grill with friends and family that typically signifies the kick-off of summer can still happen! And while your July Fourth celebration and outdoor cookouts should be fun get-togethers, it’s a good idea to follow a few safety precautions so that everyone continues to stay safe.
If this is the first time you have used your grill this summer, 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 for your grill may save you from a catastrophe in your backyard. Never use your grill indoors and make sure that it is located far away from siding, eaves and awnings, as well as trees or bushes that could potentially ignite. Not only should you keep the grill away from things that can ignite, but make sure your grill isn’t in the line of flying baseballs 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 accidents. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reports that annually many grill fires leading to injuries and property damage can be avoided with these precautions.
Next, it’s time to focus on the food! Food Safety.gov states that most food poisoning occurs from undercooked food, so 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 anything else who touches raw meat properly washes hands and surfaces immediately. Once you have cooked your meat, vegetables or other dishes you have grilled, be sure to turn your grill off. Then, it is time to call the kids in from playing and start to devour some great food. If you end up having leftovers from your meal, make sure to put them in storage containers and refrigerate immediately.
Having a cookout is the perfect way to enjoy time with family 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, happy summer and Fourth of July!
*The information in this article was compiled from a variety of sources and is intended to provide helpful tips only.