fire up that grill?
Before you start take a moment and make sure
Whenever you grill,
keep safety in mind! The number one rule is NEVER squirt lighter fluid on hot briquettes.
This is very dangerous! Why? When you squirt the plastic bottle you send a stream of fuel
into an ignition source. After you release the sides of the plastic bottle it normally
expands back to recover it's original shape; sucking in air along with it. This can cause
a vacuum effect and could suck a flame as it follows the vapor trail directly into the
bottle. The result could be a violent explosion of the fuel liquid. As the liquid
violently escapes the bottle some of it could be sprayed onto you causing you to catch
fire as well. The explosion itself could seriously and permanently injure you. So just
don't do it!
Below are some more important safety tips to help keep your
cookout as safe and enjoyable as possible.
Start the fire easily and safely:
- Place grill away from dry grass,
bushes, the house and out of the wind if possible. Never leave it unattended once the
coals are ignited.
- Line the grill with heavy duty foil. It
reflects heat and so spes cooking and makes cleanup a snap. If the grill bottom has
vents, puncture foil so air can circulate.
- Set out a single layer of briquettes
extending about an inch beyond the food. On a cold day you will need more briquettes to
offset lower outside temperatures. If you are grilling fatty meats like hamburger, use
fewer briquettes to keep the fire cool and reduce flare-ups. Use more briquettes when
grilling lean meats or poultry. Experiment with different brands - some briquettes are
easier to light, and give off more heat.
- To get the fire started, push the
briquettes into a pyramid - they will light more quickly.
- Use a charcoal lighter to start the
fire, choosing from liquid, solid or jelly types; or use a UL approved electric starter.
Follow manufacturer's directions to the letter. Let the liquid type soak into the
briquettes for a minute or so before lighting the fire.
- Never use gasoline, alcohol or other
highly volatile fluids - they are extremely dangerous.
- Let briquettes burn till they are
covered with a layer of gray ash (seen in daylight) or are glowing red (at night). This
will take 20 to 40 minutes.
Controlling the cooking temperatures
and containing flare-ups are easy with these basic tips:
- Spread hot briquettes in a single layer
and place food on the rack.
- To put out flare-ups caused by
spattering fat raise the rack and spread out coals. Or, if you must douse the flames with
water, remove food from grill then squirt water on the fire with a plastic pump-spray
bottle - good to keep on hand because you aim at the flare-up, not the entire fire.
- After barbecuing, be sure to extinguish
coals thoroughly. If grill has vents to regulate charcoal temperature, closing them will
reduce oxygen and help extinguish coals.
Special barbecuing accessories really
help you cook like a pro: long handled tongs (one for handling the food, a second for the
coals), pancake turner, two tined fork, mitts, water-filled pump spray bottle for dousing
One final tip:
be sure there is adequate ventilation to
remove carbon monoxide formed by the fire. Grilling outdoors is always the safest. Never
grill in an enclosed area such as a camper, trailer, tent or on a closed porch. Carbon
monoxide can be fatal.