Cookouts are popular summer and national holiday celebrations. But each year, nearly 17,000 people go to the emergency room because of a grilling accident, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Stay safe with these tips:
Set the Stage
Place your grill away from overhanging objects and foot traffic, says Lisa Braxon, a public education specialist with the National Fire Protection Association. If you have a propane grill, check for leaks at least once a year: Sponge or spray the hose with soapy water; if you see bubbles, turn off the tank and grill. A local retailer or handyman can help with repairs.
Use the Right Gear
A long-handled spatula and tongs and heat-resistant gloves can prevent burns and make grilling easier on joints. Avoid loose-fitting sleeves that could catch fire.
Practice Food Safety
A hot grill can sear meat quickly without cooking it through, raising the risk of food poisoning. Cook poultry to 165 F; burgers to 160 F; and pork, beef steaks and lamb to 145 F. And don’t use the same platter for raw and cooked meats.
Clean it Up
If you’re using charcoal, let coals cool completely, then put them in a metal container. Grilling with gas? Turn off the tank and grill. Clean the grate with a bristleless scrubber (wire bristles may break off and get into your food) to prevent fat buildup, which can ignite, says Braxon. “Also, remember to clean the grease tray regularly.”
Author: SHARON LIAO
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