Does anything say summer more than hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill? As summer approaches and the days get longer, the more barbecuing is in store. Knowing how to use the barbecue properly is key to the safety of you, your family and your home. Regardless of the type of grill you own, here are 9 barbecue tips that will help you fire up some summer fun the right way.

  1. Grill outside and away from any structures: Keep your grill at least 10 to 15 feet away from your house and any structures. This should include garages and porches. Grills should not be used underneath patio covers either, as a flame could burn the structure above. This applies to both charcoal and gas grills.
  2. Clean your grill frequently: Grease is a major source of flare ups. If you allow grease and fat to build up on your grill, they contribute more fuel for a fire. It may be a good idea to clean your grate with a grill brush before each use of your grill.
  3. Make sure your grill is secure: Only set up your grill on a flat surface and make sure the grill can’t topple over.
  4. Check for gas leaks: Before your first barbecue of the season, check the gas hoses for leaks by putting a little bit of soap and water solution on the outside of the hose and then turning on the gas. If there is a propane leakage, the solution will start to bubble. Other signs of a propane leakage consist of the smell of gas near the barbecue or a pilot that won’t light.
  5. Be ready to put out a fire: Make sure to have a fire extinguisher nearby just in case you need to use it. If the fire happens to be a grease fire, then baking soda may help put it out. You should never use water to put out a grease fire as it could make the fire worse.
  6. Never walk away from the grill: You should never leave the grill unattended and don’t allow kids or pets to play near the grill. Never try to move a hot grill or one that’s already lit. Remember that the grill will stay hot for at least an hour after you turn it off, so make sure to let it cool off completely before you try to move it.
  7. Starting the grill with the lid closed: Lighting your grill with a closed lid can be unsafe and may create a fireball which could be dangerous. You should keep your gas grill lid open while you’re lighting it. If the flame goes out while the lid is open, turn both the grill and gas off and wait at least ten minutes before you try to light it again.
  8. Wear the right clothing: Clothing can easily catch fire, so make sure your shirt sleeves and apron strings don’t hang over the grill.
  9. Shutting down the grill: Don’t get distracted by the appetizing food that you just cooked on the grill and always remember to turn off your grill. As soon as you’re done cooking, turn off the burners and the fuel supply. If you’re using a charcoal grill, let the coals cool completely before disposing of them.

These grilling safety tips are easy to do and can make your summer cookout safe as well as fun. Let the grilling begin!