Safe Grilling Techniques for the Summer

Safe GrillingThere is nothing better than starting up the grill and throwing on a couple of hamburgers or vegetable kabobs during the summer. However, grilling can be a dangerous activity if you do not cook your food or use your grill properly. The Center for Disease Control estimates that one in six people get sick from eating under-cooked or improperly cooked foods every year. Furthermore, the National Fire Protection Agency reports that U.S. fire departments across the nation responded to 8,600 fires that resulted in 10 deaths, 140 injuries and approximately $75 million in damages.

Food Safety When Grilling

When it comes to grilling, making sure your food is properly cooked can reduce the risks of serious food poisoning and other illnesses.

  • Watch for Cross-contamination: While the majority of people use separate cutting boards for raw and cooked meats, very few actually wash the utensils that were used to prepare the raw foods before working with cooked foods. To avoid the risk of food poisoning, either wash the utensils in hot soapy water between uses or use two different sets of utensils for raw and cooked foods.
  • Check Your Grill Gates: If you have a charcoal grill, you want to make sure that you are not cooking your meat too close to the coals. If the meat is too close, it can result in the outside being cooked while the inside remains cold and raw.
  • Use a Food Thermometer: According to a report by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, only 23 percent of people use a food thermometer to ensure that their hamburgers and other meat products are done. By using a food thermometer every time you grill, you will greatly reduce the risk of food poisoning.
  • Keep a Timer Handy: No food, including condiments such as ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise, should sit out without refrigeration for more than two hours. When the temperatures exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheight, food becomes unsafe after one hour.


General Grill Safety

By properly maintaining your grill this summer, you’ll not only keep your home and family safe from accidental fires and burns, but the food you cook will also taste even better.

  • Read the Manual: If you are unfamiliar with your grill or ever have any questions, you’ll most likely find out what you need to know in the manual, including how to properly clean, maintain and store your grill.
  • Know Where to Grill: You should only ever light up the grill in an open area and avoid enclosed spaces. Further, you should be wary of grilling on your deck if it is wooden and keep the grill at least 10 feet from buildings.
  • Keep the Grill Clean: Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions to keep the grill grates and burners clean. This includes removing debris and cleaning out the grease catch pan if you have a gas grill. This way, your hamburger won’t contain any leftovers from your last meal.
  • If you have a gas grill, inspect the cylinder for any damage before you turn it on. If you suspect a gas leak, immediately turn off the gas supply valve if you are able to safely before calling the fire department.
  • Keep Your Flames Under Control: While having a flame is a very necessary part of grilling, it is important to always keep an eye on your grill while it is in use. A fire extinguisher should always be within reach when you are grilling and always be within eye sight of any open flames.

By making sure that you are properly maintaining your grill and cooking your food to perfection, you’ll ensure that everyone will have an enjoyable summer full of good food and family fun.


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