Outdoor Gas Grills

Safely grill by using these tips

Summer's great when you're grillin'! A warm, sunny evening by the lake with good friends and family makes for a great party. Barbecue chefs live for cooking in the great outdoors, but they also keep safe by following some basic instructions for operating gas grills. Remember, a safe grill makes a great cookout.

You can have an outdoor grill be part of an outdoor kitchen or just stand alone as a simple barbecue. Either way, you've got to be careful when using propane barbecues or natural gas grills to cook food.

Following these safety instructions will help:

  • Only use gas grills outdoors, in well-ventilated areas.
  • Always start your grill with the lid up.
  • Never smoke a cigarette while grilling.
  • Tuck in any loose clothing when grilling.
  • Never allow children to light gas grills.
  • Never operate a gas grill near combustibles or around anything that might obstruct airflow.
  • Don't grill under covered porches.
  • Never leave a gas grill unattended.
  • Don't use in tents, trailers or screened-in porches.
  • Use only commercial leak detector or a mix of 50% liquid soap and 50% water to detect a gas leak.
  • Repair all leaks before using a gas grill.
  • Check hoses regularly for cracks and bends.
  • Make sure your barbecue or grill has "spider guards" – spiders or earwigs can build nests in the valves and potentially cause an explosive risk to you and your family.
  • Ask your gas supplier to check for dents or leaks when refilling propane tanks.
  • Turn off all burner controls and tank valves when not in use.
  • Only cover cooled gas grills.
  • Store propane clear of any sources of ignition.
  • Store propane tanks in an upright, vertical position in a secure, well-ventilated area.
  • Never keep gas cylinders where they could be exposed to high temperatures.

Safety doesn't just stop at grill use – you've got to keep that party food safe too. Prevention is the best way to avoid nasty food poisoning incidents. Check out these food safety tips and make sure no one gets sick this summer:

  • When shopping for meat, like poultry or beef, don't put it in your cart until you're about to leave the store. This will keep it cooler longer. Don't buy packages that are ripped or torn, and separate your raw meat from the rest of your food so that you don't accidentally contaminate everything in your cart.
  • Keep your meat in the air-conditioned part of your car, not the hot trunk.
  • If you won't be using your meat for a few days, make sure you freeze it immediately.
  • When barbecuing meat, make sure that you are cooking all meat thoroughly. Rare meat can harbor bacteria that will cause food poisoning. Use a meat thermometer to check for a safe internal temperature. As a rule, poultry should be 180°F (breasts 170°F), beef, lamb, veal roasts/steaks should be 145°F to 160°F, any burgers 160°F, and all pork should be 160°F. Fully-cooked meats like hot dogs should be cooked until their internal temperature is 165°F.
  • If you will be serving take-out food at a party, like potato salad or coleslaw, ensure that you serve them within two hours of picking them up. If you won't be serving them for awhile, then chill them thoroughly.
  • Always WASH YOUR HANDS before cooking or serving food to anyone!
  • Marinate foods in the refrigerator, not on the counter, and wash down all surfaces where meat has been with chlorine bleach to kill germs.

Have a safe and happy barbecuing season by being safe when you grill and cook food. Don't forget to check out our barbecue recipes and choose some delicious food for your next cookout!

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