Tips For Safe Grilling with Charcoal
Anytime you are working with or around flames and high heats, safety should be your first priority. Here are a few tips on enjoying you backyard barbecue without the fear of a painful accident.
A Safe Grilling Experience
- Place your grill on a flat, level surface so it won't tip over.
- Keep your grill away from overhangs, fences, deck railings and shrubbery that could be ignited by a sudden flare-up or flying spark
- Position the grill in a well-ventilated location. Burning charcoal inside can kill you. It gives off carbon monoxide, which has no odor.
- Keep children and pets away from the grill when it's in use.
Handle Charcoal With Care
- In my opinion, you should NEVER use starter fluid to start your fire. However, if you feel you must, never add it directly to hot coals. The flame could travel up the stream of fluid and burn you.
- If briquettes are slow to start, place several new briquets in a small metal can and apply starter fluid following the starter fluid instructions. Add these briquets, using a pair of long-handled tongs, to warm coals and light with a match.
- Never use gasoline or kerosene to light a charcoal fire. Both can cause an explosion.
- Do not close the lid of your grill until you are ready to cook. Doing so might put out the fire or cause a rush of flame when the lid is opened. Closing the lid prematurely can help prevent charcoal starter fluid from completely burning off, giving foods a strange taste.
- Coals are HOT - they can reach up to 1000°F. It might be wise to use insulated, flame-retardant mitts when cooking or handling any part of the grill. Also, use long-handled barbecue tongs and utensils for safe handling of food and coals.
- When smoking meat, pay special attention to controlling internal grill temperatures. For an accurate reading, place a candy thermometer's probe through the top grill vent and maintain a temperature of about 225° to 250°F. If the temperature rises above this range, slide the vent directly under the charcoal nearly closed while wearing heat-protective gloves. Continue to monitor the heat and open the vent again as the temperature drops.
Putting Out The Fire
- Place or close the cover to the grill.
- Close coompletely all vents and allow the coals to burn out completely.
- Let the ashes cool for at least 48 hours
- Dispose of cooled ashes in a non-combustible container.
Note: If you must dispose of coals before they've completely cooled, remove them individually with long-handled tongs and carefully bury them in a can of sand or in a bucket of water. Never pour the hot coals into a pail of water, or vice versa. Steam from the briquets may burn you.