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10 Steps to a Safer Memorial Day Cookout

  1. Working With Open Flame: Make sure you have a fire extinguisher. Do not wear loose clothing. Grills cause thousands of fires, hundreds of injuries, dozens of deaths and millions of dollars in damage every year... don't become a statistic!
  2. Food Safety Concerns: Refrigerate food until it goes on the grill. The grill should hold a temperature of around 300 degrees and the meat should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees to kill any bacteria there may be.
  3. Read The Instructions: With many grill types, they differ in how they operate. Do not assume that your new grill works like your old one. If you can not find your instruction manual for your grill, check the manufacturer website, they often have them available for downloading!
  4. Check Your Location: Make sure your grill is away from anything flammable like bushes, trees, your house... and out of the path of guests and small children. Also, before you start your fire, make sure the grill's vents are open. They should not be clogged with ashes or grease.
  5. Using A Gas Grill: Check your gas grill for obstructions. One of the main causes of gas grill fires is an obstruction in the gas line. This usually takes place, behind, underneath or inside your grill where people normally don't look. Pay attention and stay safe!
  6. Using A Charcoal Grill: Charcoal absorbs and holds moisture easily, so store it in a dry place. Briquets are ready when they're glowing red and their surface is covered with gray ash, taking approximately 20 to 40 minutes. When they're ready, use tongs to spread them out for even heat.
  7. Soak Your Kebob Skewers: Soaking wooden skewers in water for at least 20 minutes before using them on a hot grill, will prevent the wood from burning, as well as make it easier to get your delicious vegetables and meats back off of the skewer.
  8. Use Tongs Or A Spatula For Turning Meat: Tongs and spatulas with long handles allow for better control. Though using a fork is also effective, the holes a fork leaves behind cause your meat to lose some of their natural (yummy) juices.
  9. Have A Spray Bottle On Hand: A spray bottle filled with water is useful to control flare-ups on a charcoal grill. However, be careful not to use too much water and douse the coals. Do not use water on gas grill flare-ups - close the hood and turn down the heat until the fire goes down.
  10. Clean Your Grill: Cleaning your grill is easier if the grill rack is coated with vegetable oil or nonstick cooking spray before grilling. However, do not spray the grill over the fire, as this could cause a flare-up. Scrub a dirty grill with a stiff, wire brush while it's still warm for best results.