Rock Talk

13 Ways to Help Avoid Catastrophe While Grilling

Last updated on June 19, 2020 at 02:00 pm

As we continue to practice social distancing, now’s a great time to break out of your boring cooking rut by firing up the grill. While barbecuing is a great way to enjoy warm weather, it’s important to remember you’re dealing with glowing hot coals or tanks of propane gas. Whether you’re a first-time griller, switching cooking methods (charcoal to gas or vice versa) or an experienced grill-master, it’s a good idea to brush up on basic grill safety tips. After all, an average of 4,500 grill fires take place on residential properties each year, and no one wants their BBQ to be remembered as the one that went up in flames.

Before You Cook

  • Any grill – propane or charcoal – should only be used outside.
  • If last year’s drippings tray is caked with grease or fat buildup, consider replacing it. Keep the tray clean throughout the season by removing any grease or fat after each use.
  • If you’re using a propane grill, carefully check the hoses to and from the gas tank and look for any cracks or holes. Tighten the hose if it’s loose.
  • If you’re a charcoal griller who uses lighter fluid, only use lighter fluid designed for grilling. Do not use gasoline or other flammable liquids.

 While You Cook

  • Once your grill is lit, let it heat up a bit before putting any food on. If there’s lingering residue from last time, the heat will burn it off.
  • If you smell gas, turn off the grill immediately.
  • Use long-handled utensils to avoid burning yourself.
  • Keep children away from the grill while it’s on.
  • You should be able to put the flames out at a moment’s notice, so it’s a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher nearby.
  • This goes without saying, but never leave your grill unattended.

After You Cook

  • Give the grill ample time to cool off before letting anyone near it. Even once the grill is turned off, it can still be quite hot.
  • When the grill has safely cooled, scrub the grates with a pumice stone or coil-shaped bristle-free brush to remove any cooking residue.
  • If you’re using a charcoal grill, allow the ashes to cool for at least 48 hours before disposing. When disposing, wrap the ashes in tin foil and place in a non-combustible container.

Those are just basic grill safety tips. This is not meant to be a comprehensive grill safety guide. There are plenty more tips from the National Fire Protection Association and the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association.

While we may not be able to answer your questions about food pairings, the experts at Plymouth Rock Assurance are more than happy to talk about how homeowners insurance can protect your property from grilling accidents.

2 thoughts on “13 Ways to Help Avoid Catastrophe While Grilling

  1. Good list for safety, however you best change the part about using a wire brush after cooking to clean the grates. Many people have been hospitalized finding pieces of the wire brush digested in their hamburgers. Safer to use Reynolds wrap, to clean grates.

    1. Hi James,

      Thanks for posting this helpful tip. After doing some research, we discovered that pumice stones or coil-shaped bristle-free brushes are safer alternatives to wire brushes, and so we’ve updated the article accordingly. Hope you have a fun, safe summer!

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