Summertime in Michigan is all about spending time outdoors. Even mealtime becomes a fun outdoor activity as people take a break from their yardwork or swimming in the backyard pool to enjoy a burger off the grill. When grilling, however, it’s important to follow outdoor grilling safety tips to ensure you can thoroughly enjoy every backyard barbecue this summer.
Outdoor Grilling Safety Tips: Before
- As you’re shopping, place meat, poultry, and seafood in separate bags, and pick them up last to make sure they’re not in your cart for too long.
- Wash your hands, utensils, and cutting boards with soap and water before cooking, especially if they’ve come into contact with raw meat or juices.
- Check your grill, tank, and hoses to make sure they are secure and that there is no potential for gas leaks.
- If you are using a charcoal grill, use only charcoal starter fluid, and be sure to follow the directions.
- Clean your grill before each use to prevent fires. Be careful when using wire bristles, as loose bristles can get stuck in food.
- Make sure your grill is on a flat surface so that it doesn’t wobble or topple over as you’re cooking.
Outdoor Grilling Safety Tips: During
- As you are cooking, if you smell gas, turn off the tank and burners and step away. If the smell persists, contact the local fire department.
- Keep children and pets away from the grill, and make sure your clothing doesn’t dangle into the grill.
- Grills should only be used outdoors and should not be placed under low-hanging tree limbs. Keep them at least 10 feet away from your house.
- Keep your eyes on any sparks that may fly or any coal, skewers, or other items that may fall onto the ground around the grill. If they do fall onto the ground, soak them down with water before picking them up and disposing of them.
- Use clean utensils and dishware to handle meats and other items that have been cooked. Make sure you don’t use kitchenware that has come into contact with raw meats and juices.
- Use a thermometer to ensure meat is cooked to a safe temperature, based on the following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- 145°F for whole cuts of beef, pork, lamb, and veal (stand-time of 3 minutes at this temperature)
- 145°F for fish
- 160°F for hamburgers and other ground beef
- 165°F for all poultry and pre-cooked meats, like hot dogs
- If you use a smoker, the temperature should be 225 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
Outdoor Grilling Safety Tips: After
- Make sure charcoal cools completely before disposing of it, and use a metal container to do so.
- Leftovers should be divided into small portions and placed in covered, shallow containers. Place the containers in the refrigerator or freezer within two hours of cooking or within one hour if it is 90 degrees or hotter outside, according to the CDC.
- Clean your grill, utensils, cutting boards, and all other items that you used, especially those that you used to prepare and cook raw meats.