I am sure many of you will be grilling out this July 4th Holiday. It’s an American tradition for many people to use a grill during the July 4th Holiday to grill their favorite burgers, hot dogs, steaks, chicken, and other cuts of meat. No matter if you are using gas or charcoal, you have to make sure that you are grilling safe.
First off, let’s talk about safety tips for using a gas grill. To begin, you must remember that gas is highly flammable. Each year about 30 people are injured as a result of gas grill fires and explosions. Many of these fires and explosions occur when consumers first use a grill that has been left idle for a period of time or just after refilling and reattaching the grill’s gas container. Here are some tips for using a gas grill from the CPSC.
- Check the tubes that lead into the burner for any blockage from insects, spiders, or food grease. Use a pipe cleaner or wire to clear blockage and push it through to the main part of the burner.
- Check grill hoses for cracking, brittleness, holes, and leaks. Make sure there are no sharp bends in the hose or tubing.
- Move gas hoses as far away as possible from hot surfaces and dripping hot grease. If you can’t move the hoses, install a heat shield to protect them.
- Replace scratched or nicked connectors, which can eventually leak gas.
- Check for gas leaks, following the manufacturer’s instructions, if you smell gas or when you reconnect the grill to the LP gas container. If you detect a leak, immediately turn off the gas and don’t attempt to light the grill until the leak is fixed.
- Keep lighted cigarettes, matches, or open flames away from a leaking grill.
- Never use a grill indoors. Use the grill at least 10 feet away from your house or any building. Do not use the grill in a garage, breezeway, carport, porch, or under a surface that can catch fire.
- Do not attempt to repair the tank valve or the appliance yourself. See an LP gas dealer or a qualified appliance repair person.
- Always keep containers upright. Never store a spare gas container under or near the grill or indoors. Never store or use flammable liquids, like gasoline, near the grill.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions that accompany the grill.
Now if you are using a charcoal grill, remember the charcoal produces carbon monoxide which is a odorless and colorless gas. Each year about 30 people die and 100 are injured as a result of carbon monoxide fumes from charcoal grills and hibachis used inside. Here are some tips from the CPSC.
- Never burn charcoal inside of homes, vehicles, tents, or campers. Charcoal should never be used indoors, even if ventilation is provided.
- Since charcoal produces CO fumes until the charcoal is completely extinguished, do not store the grill indoors with freshly used coals.
After you get your grill fired up. You have to think about food safety. Many people get food poisoning every year because of irresponsible grilling techniques. So here are some great tips for grilling food safety I have found online!
- Always wash your hands before and after handling food.
- Keep the kitchen, dishes and utensils clean.
- Always serve food on clean plates.
- Harmful bacteria present in raw meat and poultry and their juices can contaminate safely cooked food. To prevent foodborne illness, don’t use the same platter and utensils for raw and cooked meat/poultry.
- Keep meat and poultry refrigerated until ready to use.
- After cooking meat and poultry on the grill, keep it at 140°F or warmer until served. Keep cooked meats hot by setting them to the side of the grill rack. Cooked meat can be kept hot in a warm oven (approximately 200°F), in a chafing dish, or on a warming tray.
- In hot weather (above 90°F), food should never sit out for more than one hour.
- Refrigerate any leftovers promptly in shallow containers.
- Marinate food in the refrigerator, not on the counter.
- If marinades are to be used as a sauce for the cooked meat, either reserve a portion of the marinade before putting raw meat and poultry in it, or boil it before using on cooked meat to destroy any harmful bacteria.
This is the most important part when grilling! You must make sure that the internal temperature is reached before you take your meats off of the grill. Using a meat thermometer to make sure your food is cooked thoroughly is the best way to make sure no one will get food poisoning. Chicken must be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F; beef, pork, venison, veal, and lamb must be cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F; fish and shellfish must be cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F; and if you want to reheat anything, the temperature needs to reach 165°F.
Enjoy grilling your favorite meats and dishes during the July 4th Holiday! Just make sure you grill safely! Here’s a great video from holidaykitchen showing you some extra grilling tips!
- Got Grill? (eatrightidaho.com)
- Memorial Day Grilling: How to Use a Gas Grill (blogher.com)
- Barbecue Safety Guide (in-the-pantry.com)
- Valley Hill offers tips for safe summer grilling (blueridgenow.com)