Grilling is a popular summer activity across North America. Many of us own a grill or smoker.
One survey found that Canadians have been unprepared for grilling emergencies. In 2021, a Harris Poll found that “most barbecue owners (85%) own a fire extinguisher, only 48% keep one within reach while barbecuing.”
In addition, nearly half of barbecue owners (46%) do not know that disposable fire extinguishers need to be replaced every 12 years, the survey explained.
Grilling can be much safer when you pay attention to simple safety measures.
Have the right gear
Having the right equipment will make grilling safer and more fun!
Keep these helpful items near the grill:
Cut-resistant gloves to prevent injuries
Safety glasses for when there is hot, popping grease and for cleaning the grill
Barbeque gloves to prevent burns
An apron with pockets that protects you from grease and keeps you organized
A fire extinguisher
Kosher salt, baking soda, or sand for putting out grease fires
What to do about a gas leak
Make sure to check the hose and propane tank for leaks before you use the grill every year.
Apply soapy water to the hose.
Look for bubbles or a rotten egg smell.
If there is a leak and there is no flame, turn off the tank and the grill.
If the leak stops, have a professional repair the leak.
Call the fire department if the leak does not stop.
If you have checked for a leak and one develops when you are grilling, do not try to fix it yourself. National Fire Protection Association says “If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department.”
How to put out a grease fire
Knowing how to extinguish a grease fire is essential before you fire up the grill.
Never try to put one out with water.
Water can actually exacerbate the situation by splashing and spreading drops of burning oil, making grease fires bigger. Not to mention water on a hot fire can produce steam and cause severe burns.
If there is a grease fire:
Turn off the burners if you can reach them safely.
Remove the food and throw baking soda, sand, or kosher salt on the flames.
Close the lid and grill vents.
If the propane tank is on fire, leave the area and call 911.
Prevent grease fires
Prevent a grease fire from happening in the first place by:
Cleaning the grill often.
Leaving the lid open after turning off the gas so grease around the firebox area can burn off.
Cooking with the lid down.
Oiling the food, not the grates.
Moving food to a warming rack if there is a grease flare up and replacing it to the center of the grill so the fat can burn off.
Use high-quality wood pellets for wood pellet grilling
Though using the wrong type of pellet for wood pellet grilling does not increase fire risk, using low-quality pellets is another safety issue to think about.
Wood pellet grilling is gaining popularity because of its versatility and one important safety issue that comes with it is the quality of wood pellets used.
Smoke from them comes into contact with food and pollutes the atmosphere and contaminated pellets cause high levels of particulate matter and formaldehyde.
Some heating and grilling pellets can be used interchangeably, but some softwoods found in heating pellets (e.g., cedar, pine, fir, spruce) are not suitable for grilling and smoking.
Choose pellets that are labeled as grilling pellets.
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