Grilling & Outdoor Food Preparation Safety Tips

Stack of plates on a table outside in a garden with a man attending to a barbecue in the background

The months of June and July are considered to be prime grilling season.  We at will be grilling this weekend and we want to share some grilling and food preparation safety tips:

General Grilling Safety Tips:

  • Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
  • The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Keep children and pets away from the grill area.
  • Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in the trays below the grill.
  • Never leave your grill unattended.
  • Have a fire extinguisher located in proximity of the grill.
  • Inspect grill cleaning brushes for any lose, worn or missing wire bristles. If so, replace the brushes immediately and utilized a non-wire bristle brush.  Wire bristles in consumed barbecue food is a guaranteed trip to the Emergency Room.

Propane Pre-Grilling Checklist:

  • Check the major connection points between the gas (propane) tank hose and the regulator and cylinder, and where the hose connects to the burners. Tighten if loose.
  • Check the gas (propane) tank hose for the potential (gas) leaks. To do that:
  • Turn the propane tank on. Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose using a brush or spray bottle. If there is a gas leak, the propane will release bubbles around the hose (big enough to see).
  • Once you’ve determined your grill has a gas leak by smell or by administering the soapy bubble test and there is no flame, turn off the gas tank and burners. If the leak stops at that point, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again. If the leak doesn’t stop, call the fire department immediately.
  • If you smell gas while cooking, move away from the grill and call the fire department immediately. Do not move the grill.

Charcoal Pre-Grilling Checklist:

  • There are several ways to get the charcoal ready to use. Charcoal chimney starters allow you to start the charcoal using newspaper as a fuel.
  • If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.
  • Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
  • There are also electric charcoal starters, which do not use fire. Be sure to use an extension cord for outdoor use.
  • When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.

Food Preparation:

  • Do not cross containment raw and cooked meat by utilizing the same plates, cutting boards and utensils.
  • Marinate meat in the refrigerator, not on the counter and don’t reuse the marinade.
  • Condiments should be stored in a cooler and not left out in the sun.
  • Do not leave cooked meat out longer than 1-hour.
  • Grill like a P.R.O.
    • Place the thermometer at the thickest part of the meat.
    • Read the temperature. Wait about 10 to 20 seconds for the temperature to be accurately displayed: 145 Degrees Fahrenheit for Steak/Pork (with a 3-minute rest), 165 Degree Fahrenheit for Chicken and 160 Degree Fahrenheit for Chopped Meat.
    • Once the meat is at a safe temperature take it off the grill.


You can obtain additional grill safety tips by logging onto the National Fire Protection Association and outdoor food safety tips by logging onto USFDA.  We at want wish you and your family a Wonderful and Safe Memorial Day weekend.  Please remember and thank our current and former military members for their service.

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