“I love the culture of grilling. It creates an atmosphere that is festive, but casual.” Bobby Flay once said these words, and how true have they proven to be over the years. Every year, the weather gets warmer, and the only thing you want to do is to grill some food. As each year passes by, the tradition of grilling becomes more entertaining. The grills in the market keep increasing. Apart from the gas grill, another type of grills found in almost all houses is a charcoal grill. It is often a preferred cooking method in many homes your will visit. How well are you conversant with the grilling safety tips?
Because most people are grilling their food using a charcoal grill, does that mean they are less dangerous? Charcoal grilling comes with its danger. In a study done by the National Fire Protection Association, outdoor grilling causes about 8,900 home fires. Another study by Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, 44% of homes have a charcoal grill. Regardless of the studies, are there are safety tips you need to know if you have a charcoal grill. Here are a few of them.
How to safely grill using a charcoal grill- Grilling Safety Tips
Once you have the meat, you are ready to start cooking. Depending on the quality of charcoal you are using, these general grilling safety tips and guidelines will apply even before you start the fire.
Make sure the grill is away from any structures
Never use your charcoal grill anywhere near the house or any structure. According to NFPA reports, at least 27% of home fires are as a cause of courtyard, patio or terrace grilling. You don’t want to find yourself in the same situation. Grilling on the open porch or exterior balcony is dangerous. Also, pay attention to any hanging branches. Always make sure your charcoal grill is far away from any structures.
Ensure the grill is stable
Always set your charcoal grill on a flat surface. Make sure it is stable enough and can’t be tipped over. A better idea is using a grill splatter mat or grill pad. Place it underneath the grill to stabilize it and protect the surface. Don’t light the grill if it’s not stable enough and make sure you open the lid.
Remove all build up debris before lighting up.
Never light up your charcoal grill if it has the past buildup debris and barbecues. Not only will the stuck foodstuff make your meat taste bad, but it can also cause accidental fires. When debris chunks fall from the flames to the ground, they can cause a fire. Remember to remove all build up fat and grease from the tray and the grill.
Use the right starter fluid
Although many hardcore grillers swear by the charcoal grill, it still can cost issues if you don’t use the right starter fluid. Charcoal plus wrong lighter fluid is an equal match to a problem. For example, petroleum-based lighter fluid can leave residue on your food which in turn goes to your lungs. If possible, skip the lighter fluid and choose healthier options like an electric charcoal starter or charcoal chimney starter. Use long-handled lighters to start a fire.
Wear the right clothes
Your clothes can catch fire. Wear the right clothing to avoid the danger of catching fire. Your shirt sleeves need to be short or folded. The apron strings should be tied, and not dangling or hanging. Avoid wearing loose clothing
Have your fire extinguisher in sight
Always be ready to put out the fire when it starts. A bucket of sand or a fire extinguisher can help put out the fire. Avoid using water and use it only when you don’t have other options. It is essential to know that even one single charcoal can start a fire. Taking prior precaution is better than waiting until it is too late. Keep your fire extinguisher close to your grilling area.
Keep young children and pets away
Failure to keep children away from your grilling place is one of the leading causes of grilling-related injuries in children. Most children like to play around the grilling area and can accidentally trip and fall. Causing the charcoal grill to fall. Pets also need to be kept away from the grilling area to prevent an accident. Having to take care of your pet and at the same time cook your meat and other foodstuffs isn’t easy. Try as much as possible to keep them away. You can even invite a friend or another person to stay with them indoor as you grill. Also, keep them away from the grill lighter.
Never leave a charcoal lit grill unattended
In 2014 alone, almost 16, 000 people visited the hospital with grilling -related injuries. Some of the injuries were as a result of leaving the grill unattended or allowing pets and children around the grilling area. To avoid the injuries make sure someone is always there to take care of the lit grill. Make sure it’s an adult and not a minor. If it as a teenager, be there to supervise things.
Use long-handled and flame-retardant mitts and tools when cooking
When you are cooking, avoid short-handled tools that can burn your hand. Short-handled tools can also mean your clothing is nearer to the fire and they can ignite. The long-handled tool is best for grilling, particularly on a windy day.
Don’t try to move the hot charcoal grill
Moving a hot charcoal grill is a recipe for disaster. Lit or hot grill is dangerous. Trying to move it can burn your hand, or it might fall and ignite the place around the grilling area. Whether you are beginning to cook or finishing, don’t move it while it’s still hot. Move before you light it up and wait for it to cool down after cooking before you can move it.
Use something inflammable to store the coals.
Instead of using something flammable like plastic or boxes to store the used coals, a metal container is the better option. Sometimes charcoal will smolder before it completely cools off. Store your charcoal in a well-ventilated area, inside a metal box. It will prevent an accidental fire. Beware of wind. It can bloc fire sparks all over your grilling area.
Store the matches, lighter and fluid away from children
If you are using lighter fluid or matches, it’s advisable you store them out of reach after you finish cooking. Sometimes small children want to experiment and experience what they see. Once they find the lighter, they will try to light up the grill leading the fire and possible life threatening injuries or even death. Avoid this risk by keeping all the matches, lighter fluid and light away from small children.
In conclusion of the grilling safety tips, your backyard barbecue doesn’t need to be a dangerous activity that you avoid. A charcoal grill is a modern way of doing your DIY grilling at home. Clean the buildup residue, use a lighter, prevent pets and children from the grilling area and adhere to other safety guidelines. Now that we know charcoal grilling is pretty convenient and the safety guidelines, it will be easier for you to grill at home. Let’s take the safety tips into consideration to avoid any accidents that may lead to hospitalization or death.