Nothing says spring, like firing up the grill and cooking a delicious meal with friends and family. But before you get started, make sure you’re grilling safely. From choosing the right fuel to proper food handling techniques, keep safety in mind when cooking outdoors. Here are a few tips for grill safety so you can have a safe and fun experience.

Grill Safety: Use the Correct Fuel

The first step to grilling safely is ensuring you are using the correct fuel type. Charcoal grills should only be used with charcoal briquettes, and propane or natural gas grills should only be used with their corresponding fuels. Mixing fuels creates a dangerous situation, so verify you’re using the correct fuel for your grill.

Practice Proper Grill Cleaning and Maintenance

Keeping the grill clean is key to making sure it functions well, and the food tastes delicious. Scrub the grates with a wire brush to remove baked-on food particles and grease, and empty the drip pan to prevent bacteria buildup. Inspect the fuel hose for cracks and leaks to ensure the grill functions safely.

Monitor Your Cooking Temperature

Maintain the right temperature when cooking on a grill. Checking the temperature will prevent under- or overcooking. Use a meat thermometer to track internal temperatures so you cook foods to a safe temperature.

Keep Kids and Pets Away from the Grill

Grills can reach temperatures of up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, so teach kids to stay away from the appliance at all times. If you are grilling on a small deck or balcony, keep children and pets indoors while preparing the food.

Avoid Cross-Contamination

Cross-contamination is a common cause of food poisoning, so follow proper food handling techniques. Use separate cutting boards for raw and cooked foods, and thoroughly wash utensils, plates, and cutting boards between uses. To keep your meal safe, store raw meats away from other foods to avoid contamination.

Grill Safety: Be Prepared for an Emergency

Always be prepared for an emergency when grilling. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby in case of flare-ups, and have a plan for what to do if the fire gets out of control.

Check local fire safety laws before grilling, and use caution when cooking. Grilling is a great way to spend time outdoors with friends and family. Just remember these basics of grilling safely for a fun and injury-free experience.

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