Hey there! Yes, you. The one with the fireproof apron and two-foot tongs.
It’s July, which means we’re well into summer and elbow-deep in BBQ season. And that means it’s time to talk grilling safety. Because while backyard grills may be commonplace, that doesn’t mean they’re without danger: operating your barbecue requires a sprinkling of vigilance with a side of precaution.
Here are 5 tips to keep your summer grilling season as safe as it is delicious:
1. Read Your Owner’s Manual
We know – no one likes to read the manual. Especially for a grill, which seems self-explanatory, right? Turn it on, cook the meat.
Yeah, no. This is one manual you should read. Every grill works a little differently, and you need to understand specific usage for your new backyard tool. Also, if you’re assembling your barbecue, you’ll want to be extra careful that you don’t miss anything. You really, really don’t want a leftover screw from this project.
2. Prepare for Flames
Charcoal or propane, your grill uses raw fire. (And it tastes so good.) Chances are you won’t have a problem, but you should always be prepare for a rogue flame to jump out: always keep a fire extinguisher close, and consider keeping a [filled] water bucket nearby, every time you grill. (Throw water on a wayward ember, and the food’s still edible!)
Additionally, keep basic burn first aid in your house. And never, ever leave your grill unattended. Fire is fire, no matter how contained it appears to be.
3. Where There’s Fire, There’s Smoke
Smoke lends great flavor to food, but it can also be dangerous. There’s the carbon monoxide and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) to consider, not to mention the fact that a coughing fit from breathing in a bit too much smoke can cause serious distraction. Our tip: Step away (but don’t look away!) from your grill while the food cooks.
4. Ventilation is Your Friend
When it comes to both fire and smoke, ventilation is the name of the game. Install your grill in an open area, away from high-traffic spots, roof overhangs and combustibles like plants and leaves. Bonus points if you keep your grill more than a few feet from the house. (A good breeze can whip sparks around like you wouldn’t believe.)
5. Gear Up
If you love your grill, you’ll love this tip: Get the right gear. That’s right, you’re go for grill accessories shopping. A spark-resistant grilling apron, long-handled tools, a grill mat, flame-retardant mitts and other gear can keep you, your family and your home safe.