Staying Safe Around the Grill By Guest Writer Lucy Dale
No family campout is quite complete without firing up the grill, but without proper preparation, outdoor cooking can be dangerous. Summertime sees the most grilling-related accidents, with almost 20% occurring in July alone. Before you pull the burgers and buns out of the ice cooler this summer, it’s essential that you take steps to protect yourself, your fellow campers, and the area around your grill. Here are a couple of handy safety tips for campers who are thinking about ending their day with a grill out.
Keep Your Grill Maintained
Simply keeping your grill clean and in working order is one of the best ways to avoid accidents during an outdoor campout. Not only should all of the pieces be in place and accounted for, but they should also be free of excess grease and fat. Leftover debris from previous cookouts can build up inside of your grill and lead to fires. After each use, you should clean your grill with a stiff-bristle brush. You can also bring a grill grate to cook on top of a camp fire.
Be Careful When Cooking
If you are assigned the role of grillmaster, it’s your job to ensure that you don’t injure yourself or anyone else. Loose clothing should be secured, and pets and children should be out of the grilling area. When starting the grill, never pour or squirt lighter fluid on a lit setup. This can result in a flashback and serious burns. If after lighting the grill you notice the flames climbing too high, don’t throw water to cool things down. Instead, cover the grill to cut off the oxygen supply until flames are back at a manageable level.
Be Careful With Your Meat
Burns aren’t the only thing that you have to worry about during a cookout. Exposure to raw meat can be dangerous if you don’t know how to handle it properly. You should keep meat in a cooler with ice packs to keep it cold before cooking, as sitting out in the heat can cause your meat to spoil and lead to food poisoning. You should also thoroughly wash your hands, utensils, and surfaces after they come in
contact with raw meat. Try to avoid letting cooked meat or vegetables touch any uncooked meats.
When cooking, you should also be wary of anything raw. While some people like their burgers bloody, it’s best to heat everything up to the proper temperature to ensure you kill all bacteria and parasites living inside. It’s especially important to make sure pork and chicken are fully cooked. Grilling is the perfect way to wind down after a day of outdoor adventures, but it’s critical that you practice proper safety when cooking outdoors. By taking precautions with your grill and your meat, you can reduce your risk of getting sick or injured. A safe grilling session is much more fun for everybody involved.