Grilling is an amazing adventure, and when lighting up your grill and putting meat on the grates, the next thing is a pleasant odor from your machine. Grills are easy and fun to use, but since they are quite hot, then there are some safety tips you ought to follow.
Can you use a grill in the grass? No, never use your grill in the grass. Instead look for a flat, stable, and firm surface with no obstructions. That way, the unit will not present any safety challenges to the user. Dry grass can easily catch fire if there are any leaks of fat, but even when its wet then t can destroy your grass due to the hot temperatures generated by the device.
For artificial grass, most of them don’t burn, but you should avoid exposing them to open flames. Also, check with your manufacturer the fire ratings of the grass. But this grass also melts when it’s exposed to high temperatures, and you should never use BBQs, firepits, or patio heaters on the grass.
Outdoor Grill Safety
According to Safety Cops, 76% of American households have a grill, and there are over 600 accidental explosions and fires involving grills each year resulting from improper use of these devices. And the damages have gone up to $4.9 million annually not to mention the injuries to users. And since they cannot be used indoors, it’s also essential to keep the grills 25-feet away from a building or your home and never use them in a carport, garage, breezeway, or surfaces that are susceptible to fire.
How to Setup the Grill
Charcoal grills require up to 20 minutes to preheat so you should know this before you start preparing the food. First, remove any ashes resulting from the previous cooking sessions before you use the grill. There are vents in the bottom of your grill, so ensure they’re all open for maximum ventilation to support the flame. Next, use the lighter fluid to start the charcoal grill and a chimney starter or old paper. Each grill comes with a guide that will tell you the ideal size and shape of charcoals you should use.
Now, ignite 5-6 charcoal quarts then cover them with some white ash. Depending on the recipe, you can arrange them on the opposite sides or to one side. Now, cover the device and if it doesn’t come with an in-built thermometer, then use a heatproof one by inserting it through the top vent. Adjust the vents until you reach the desired temperature, and you can leave the cover based on your preferences.
When you are using a gas grill, then note that it heats up very quickly and you’ll only need about 10 minutes before its ready for use. And before lighting the grill, raise the lid. Heat the grill with all the burners on high. Turn one or more burner(s) off to create the cold zone and adjust the active burner(s) to reach the desired temperature. Use the propane tank’s valve to open the grill then turn one of the burners on and ignite it. Next, you can ignite any number of burners you want to use as well.
These grills are plugged into electricity, and they offer the best convenience and ease of use. Also, you will find electric gills that allow indoor use and they’re ideal for areas where the outdoor grills are not permitted. But don’t expect them to produce the super delicious meat just like the ones from the charcoal grills.
This type of grills is fast becoming popular, and they use hardwood pellets to heat the meat. These provide your food with the best taste, but they’re quite expensive, and finding them can be a challenge.
What do you need for great grilling?
Well, if you want to grill, then there are some tools you’ll need for the job. And though it will vary based on meat you want to cook, the following are the tools you must have when grilling:
i. Metal Tongs
ii. Metal spatula
iii. Meat thermometer
iv. Cooking spray
vi. Grill brush
vii. Aluminum foils
viii. Fire extinguisher
ix. Heat-resistant cooking gloves
Seasoning your Grill
Before you cook, it’s also vital to season your grill, and though it may not affect the food flavor, it will put the grates of your grill in good condition before you start cooking. Besides, for those who are not using brand new grills, they should only preheat and brush them to remove any debris stuck to it.
Also, use some cooking spray with the grates before you start cooking. Never apply the spray while the grill is hot and after applying, heat the grill for about 10 minutes to melt and smoke the oil. But some grills come with a porcelain enamel and therefore, you won’t season them.
Therefore, check your grill’s manual first to determine whether it requires seasoning so that you won’t make zero efforts. Seasoning is vital as it prevents the grates from rusting and you should do it before you start grilling your meat when possible.
Cleaning your Grill
Ensuring your grill looks and is clean is the first step towards making the best dishes. Most times the sugary sauces that coat the meat or chicken can drip off to the grates. Therefore, you can experience quite a mess if you don’t clean the grill before using it. But the good news is cleaning your grill is easier, and you only need to follow the steps below:
What to Avoid
When cleaning your grill, you can make mistakes with these methods which can not only damage the grill but also pose safety and health hazards.
A wire brush seems the best tool for cleaning off sauces and food in the grates, but note that cheap ones can end up lodging the bristles in your food when using the grill. These small brushes can end in your throat, or you may even swallow them, therefore, bringing up some complications that may necessitate medical help.
After using the grill, you may be tempted to put them in the grill for cleaning. But don’t do so as it’ll leave behind an oily residue that’ll require multiple wash cycles to get rid of it. Or simply, it’s not worth the risk in the end.
Washing with Pressure
Though this method may seem like the best for the maintenance of your grill grates, it’s more frustrating than it helps. The last time I tried using the pressure washer on the outdoor grill grates, it tore into my grass and started splashing dirt and other debris on the compound. Also, don’t try it in concrete patios or wooden decks since this oily and greasy residue will not be removed well from the grates. But immediately it does, it will cling to any surface, therefore, leaving you with new cleaning problems to take care of.
Best Methods of Cleaning the Outdoor Grill
The best ways of cleaning your grills are down below, but you’ll still have to be cautious to avoid damaging the unit;
Soaking and Scrubbing
If you own a washbasin or slop sink, then this is the most effective way of cleaning your grill grates. Get some hot water, dish detergent, and submerge the grates fully for 4-24 hours. Cast iron grills grates can rust a little after 2-3 hours after soaking and you should re-season them with cooking oil and allow it to smoke in the grill for about 25 minutes.
Heat and Scrape
This is the best way of cleaning your grill as it ensures no damage to your grill and also takes less time provided you are efficient during the process. During this process, you subject the grates through high heat for about 30 minutes before turning off the heat. Now scrap the debris from the grates while they still have high temperatures. Next, convert an aluminum foil into a baseball-size then scrub the grates using the foil. And as it gets into the sides and top of the grill grates, it will remove the debris quite well.
But if you still find that your grates are greasy, then cut a raw potato into half then use it to rub the grates. You can easily do this when you insert a fork into one side of your potato and using the cut side to rub the grate and remove the grease. Now after this step, then put the grates over some high heat to leave the surface looking cleaner and shinier.
Which Surfaces can you use the grill?
The best surfaces to place your grill is on the brick patio or paving slabs as they ensure it remains stable and level. But ensure it’s far away from your artificial grass and if you’re planning to hold a party with some refreshments, then keeping the grill in a safe site will help minimize injuries and accidents during the party. Also, ensure it’s in a location where it doesn’t present a danger to your kids or pets.
Top Ten Safety Tips when Using Grills
Failure to Provide Enough Space for the Grill
One of the biggest mistakes when grilling is failing to give it adequate space when preparing your food. You may want shade or a floating ember nearby, but these can cause fire regardless of whether you own a gas or charcoal grill. Therefore, keep them as far away from your garage, home, or other structures.
Forgetting to Monitor the Grill
Most families enjoy the outdoor environment in sunny weather but never allow the pets or kids near your unit. They can easily touch a hot part of the grill or even bump into it while playing. Therefore, you should keep them away from the grilling space even when you have completed preparing your meal.
Grilling Too much Food at Once
You can be tempted to grill a lot of food at once, but if there is dripping of much fat into the food, then your unit will go up in flames. Therefore, divide the food into portions and cook each a time and especially those with high quantities of fats. This is the best tip for becoming a better griller in your home.
Well, if you own a small grill, then at times you may be tempted to use in your home or garage. But it’s not safe, and besides having the potential to cause fire, it will release carbon monoxide which is an odorless and colorless gas that may result in suffocation.
Starting a Gas Grill with the Lid Closed
Gas grill owners should avoid lighting their units while the lid is closed as it can result in gas buildup, thus increasing the fire risk. Always ensure the lid is open when turning the gas on and if the flames go off while you’re grilling, then turn the unit off again before starting it and lighting it. And if you own a charcoal grill, then never use lighter fluids with the lit charcoal as it can flame.
Not having a Thermometer
The grilled food is safe for consumption once it’s exposed to the right temperatures to destroy bacteria. And though most chefs check the meat with their eyes, it’s not enough, and only a thermometer will ensure high accuracy when preparing the food.
Owning an outdoor grill can be exciting to any homeowner as you’ll be able to prepare delicious grilled meat and add your favorite juices. But you should maintain your unit by removing the grease and other debris to ensure the grilled meat retains its flavor while avoiding debris from sticking in your food. Also don’t forget to get a grill cover to protect your food while it’s being roasted and since summer is near, prepare to improve your outdoor cooking skills with the best grill. Luckily, there is a vast assortment of types and sizes of grills in the market, and finding your ideal type won’t be a big challenge.