May is National BBQ Month – BBQ Tips for a Safe Celebration
May is National BBQ Month and grilling season is officially here. Food cooked on the grill is the centerpiece of many summer gatherings and something most of us look forward to all winter long. While enjoying the pleasures of a tailgate party or backyard BBQ, it’s important to keep safety in mind. According to the National Fire Protection Association, nearly 9,000 home fires a year involve a BBQ grill. When getting everything ready for that first cookout of the season, including these BBQ tips can keep the celebration safe.
Location, Location, Location
Choosing where to fire up your grill is one of the most important BBQ tips. Keep it at least 10 feet away from your home or any other structure that could catch fire. Avoid grilling under overhanging branches or under a balcony. While it may be tempting to get out of the sun, this can result in a fire.
Outside Use Only
For those who like to grill well into the cold weather, never use a BBQ grill in an enclosed space such as a garage, shed or tent. In addition to this creating a fire hazard, there is a risk for a buildup of carbon monoxide even if the space has ventilation. The effects of carbon monoxide poisoning are very serious and can be fatal.
Cold Weather Grilling
When it comes to BBQ tips, this one is especially important for those diehard grillmasters who fire up the grill no matter what the weather is like. When bundling up, avoid wearing loose clothing such as a scarf that could get too close to the grill and catch on fire. While it is natural to want to shield the grill from the wind, stick to the previous BBQ tip and keep it at least 10 feet from any structures or other combustible materials. Also, take extra care to check the temperature of cooked fish and meat, as it will take longer for the grill to heat up during cold weather.
Keep Children and Pets Safe
Make it clear that the area around the BBQ grill is a “kid and pet-free zone.” When the family gathers, provide the kids an area to play that is well away from the grill. This will prevent any accidental burns resulting from them getting rambunctious and bumping into the grill.
Pets will probably find all the wonderful smells coming from the grill enticing. You may want to corral them in an area away from the grill or keep them inside while you are grilling. This will prevent them from eating things they shouldn’t or getting burned.
Not keeping the grill clean can also create a fire hazard. Grease and fat that build up on the grill and in the trays below the grill can ignite and cause sudden and dangerous flare-ups. When the grill is completely cool, make sure to clean it regularly. When cleaning a charcoal grill, soak the coals in water to make sure they are completely extinguished, then dispose of them in a metal container. If you are not ready to clean it, cover the grill tightly and close the vents. This should extinguish the coals and whatever is left will be ready for next time you grill.
Charcoal or Gas?
The debate as to which is better, gas or charcoal, will probably always continue. It’s important to remember each has its own safety considerations. Of all the home fires involving grills, gas-fueled grills accounted for four out of five fires, while 16% involved charcoal or other solid-fueled grills.
BBQ Tips for Gas Grill Safety
- Check the gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year.
- Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. This will quickly reveal any escaping gas by releasing bubbles.
- If you smell or for any reason suspect a gas leak and there is no flame, turn off the gas tank and grill. If the leak stops, have it serviced before using it again. If the leak continues, call the fire department.
- If you smell gas while cooking, get away from the grill immediately and call the fire department. Do not attempt to move the grill.
- Always keep the lid open when turning on the gas. If the lid is closed, gas may build up inside, and when ignited, the lid could blow off and cause injuries or burns.
- Remember to completely close the valve on your gas grill when you are finished cooking.
- Always store gas grills and propane tanks outside and away from your house.
- Do not leave the grill unattended.
BBQ Tips for Charcoal Grill Safety
- Charcoal grills can continue to remain hot for many hours after the flames extinguish. Keep any combustible items away from the grill and avoid moving it while it is still hot.
- Check metal grills for rust damage. This type of damage can make it possible for hot coals to fall through and start a fire.
- Only use starter fluid meant for BBQ grills, never any other combustible or flammable fluids. Store starter fluid out of reach from children and away from heat sources.
- Do not add starter fluid when coals or kindling have already been ignited.
- If the fire is too low, rekindle with dry kindling and dry charcoal if needed.
- Do not leave the grill unattended.
One of the Best BBQ Tips
An old, worn out or broken grill is just an accident waiting to happen. If your grill has seen better days, it’s time to replace it. Jersey Coast Appliance is your BBQ grill headquarters here at the Jersey Shore. It doesn’t matter if your preference is gas or charcoal, our expert staff can help you choose the perfect BBQ grill. We proudly carry quality grills manufactured by Weber, DCS, and Lynx and are an authorized parts depot for Weber. Contact us or stop into one of our two locations for all your BBQ repair and replacement needs.