There is a rustic, primitive appeal to grilling in the outdoors. Whether you are with friends and family or grilling just to catch some alone time and sunshine, backyard barbecues have an unparalleled charm. However, there is an underlying, often unacknowledged risk. Incidents of home fires arising from outdoor cooking spiraling out of control during the grilling season are common! Here, we try to keep you safe from unnecessary risks and flammable situations when practicing the art of grilling. Believe us, you don’t need to be apprehensive about the safety of backyard grilling as long as you take care of some basics discussed below:
1. Keep Your Folks Close, the Grill…Away!
This might sound too amateur but even seasoned barbeque-ists are known to commit this sin. The grill is often installed near the house. This raises chances of a fire reaching the main property and causing wholesome damages.
A constant traffic of people, moving in and out of the house, means greater probability of spills in addition to disturbing the person tending the grill. Children can prove to be a serious threat with outdoor games, skateboards and remote controlled toys being common offenders. Ensure the grill is not set close to walls with basketball hoops.
Barbequing away from the house makes even more sense if you are using charcoal grills that are at the core of many home fires during the grilling season. We recommend keeping the grill at least 10 feet away from the entrance to your house. If you have an expansive garden, keep the grill far away from bushes and shrubs since drying vegetation too can easily catch fire.
2. Keep a Safety Check on Grill Fuel
Always conduct timely checks on the integrity of the gas connections. You can also make a mixture of dish soap and water and spray this around gas connections. If you see bubbles, there is a strong possibility of a leak. More importantly, don’t delay the replacement. However, this is just the basics for checking possible sources of gas leak.
Outdoor cooking comes with some unique challenges such as critters and debris making their ways into and around the valves. Gas grills should be methodically cleaned before and after every use. This is to ensure that the undersurface and cooking countertop are free from any possible sources of leakages/damages. We are not big fans of using lighter fluid as it quickly turns into a heavy, possibly inflammable gas.
3. Curb Your Enthusiasm & Read the Instructions!
It is surprising that at the heart of many grilling-related accidents lies the most unexpected reason—not reading the grilling manual. The backyard-grilling season brings in new patrons every year. However, many first-time grilling enthusiasts fail to even glance through the safety tips and restrictions that accompany a new grill. Charcoal or gas, all smokers come with a slightly different, safer range of operation. Today, grill manufacturers have created comprehensive websites that list all the necessary precautions—just take a minute to browse through these!
4. Smoke is Not Your Friend!
Some grilling pros get nostalgic about the massive smoke that older grills used to emit. Even today, some folks believe that a lot of smoke means more flavorful food and getting closer to the real grilling experience. However, smoke from the grill isn’t really that good. For starters, it contains a lot of carbon monoxide. The presence of grease means that the smoke can induce allergic respiratory bouts, particularly among the elderly and kids. Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons or PAH have been traced in cases of heavy-duty grease burning—these are serious contaminants!
5. Grilling Etiquette for a Safer Backyard Barbeque:
- Keep Food Prep Away from Grilling Surfaces
A major reason for backyard grilling accidents is leaving the grill unattended. Try not to use the area around the grill for serious food preparations. Try to do this on a table placed nearby or in the kitchen. Combining too many cooking tasks takes away the attention from the grill. It also raises chances of spilling potentially inflammable stuff in and around the grill.
- Water is Not Meant for Grill Fires
If you notice a flare-up, don’t try to douse it with water. Barbequed grilling brings a lot of greasy debris that easily floats on water that can worsen the situation. What you need is a fire extinguisher!
- Regular Cleaning
The grill needs regular cleaning to get rid of flame-supporting greasing. Cooking in the outdoors means more chances of grime build-up. Splattering oils and spices from the grilled items means bringing combustible materials together.
- Charcoal Grilling Precautions
When using a charcoal grill, never use gasoline or flammable liquids. Always use cold charcoal or light charcoal liquids. Dispose the used/burnt charcoal in a metal container after it has cooled.
There is no reason you cannot enjoy a safe and equally enjoyable grilling session without taking undue risks. We don’t mean to sound preachy but it makes little sense to take chances when something as serious as chances of a fire breakout confront you…Wishing you a Safe & Happy Grilling Season!