Sure, South Floridians may be able to grill all year long (take that, Northern states), but even with relatively mild temperatures year round, summer is still the season when most of us in Palm Beach Gardens tend to turn to the outdoors to do a lot of our cooking. After all, who can resist the added flavor provided by an open flame searing in all that natural goodness of meats and vegetables alike? (And of course, keeping all that heat outside is a good way to avoid straining the a/c system.)
If grilling is on your “must-do” list this summer, here are a few tips to make sure those flames stay under control and your BBQ experiences are as tasty – and safe – as possible:
- If it’s been a while since you used your grill, refresh your memory of its operation by reviewing the grill’s operating manual. The manual will also provide you with important information on caring for the grill in between uses and when storing it for long periods of time.
- Clean the grill after each use. Once your grill cools down, take some time to clean the grill plates and wipe beneath them to remove any spattered grease that can cause fires to flare up.
- If you use a propane of natural gas-fired grill, check the fuel lines before each use to look for cracks or other signs of damage that indicate it’s time to replace the hoses. Make sure connections are in good shape as well.
- Keep a bucket of sand on hand while you’re cooking so you can use it to douse the flames in case of a flare-up or fire.
- Keep pets and kids away from the grill while it’s in use and even afterward when it’s cooling down.
- Never use a grill in an enclosed area like a garage, and don’t operate it on a deck or balcony. In fact, keep it well away from your home and outbuildings, and don’t locate it under leaves or low-hanging branches.
- Don’t use your grill on windy days when it’s easier for sparks to fly off and start fires elsewhere on your property or even on your neighbor’s property.
- Always use long-handled tongs and BBQ mitts when working around the grill to help prevent burns.
- If you use a charcoal grill, keep lighter fluid out of the reach of kids and pets, and never keep it near the hot grill.
- Never, ever leave the grill unattended – even for a moment.
Used safely, BBQ grills can bring a lot of fun to summer days and evenings. A little extra effort is all it takes to help avoid fires, burns and other grill-related accidents.
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