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How to Have a Safe Backyard Barbecue

By Edited May 4, 2016 1 1

Barbecue Meal
Whenever the weather warms and the days grow longer, backyard chefs leave the confines of the house and venture out to grill. Afternoons and weekends are when they love to create masterpieces for their family and friends. Whether cooking burgers, dogs, ribs, pork chops, seafood, steaks or vegetables, there is something magical in the taste of food cooked on a barbecue grill. The following safety tips will help to make sure that you, your family, and your guests are all safe whenever you are outside grilling up that special feast.

Things You Will Need

Grill – gas, wood, charcoal, or electric, 50/50 mixture of water and liquid soap, Pipe cleaner or small wire, Wire brush, Small bottle brush

Step 1

Fire extingushers

I'll start with general safety precautions that should be followed with all types of grills. First, always grill outdoors in a well ventilated area to help prevent the buildup of toxic gases. Keep the grill away from the house, low hanging trees and other plants or anything else that could catch fire. Wear an apron and flame retardant oven mitts and make sure that any loose fitting clothing is tucked in. Make sure that the grill is on a level surface to prevent it from rolling or possibly turning over. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby. Have a first aid kit in the house in case of a minor burn. Probably one of the most important safety precautions is to keep children and pets away from the grill even after the food is done. The grill will remain hot for some time afterward.

Step 2

Weber Gas Grill

Gas grills are becoming increasingly popular. Propane and natural gas grills are safe and convenient if they are properly maintained and used according to the manufactures instructions. However, you must keep in mind that gas is an explosive and must be used properly. Most individuals think that the only thing that needs to be cleaned is the grates that the food sits on. This is far from reality. The burners, tubes, and ports need to be cleaned and inspected on a regular basis and damaged or worn parts need to be replaced. Gas flames should be clear, bright blue with only a small yellow tip. A yellow flame means that combustion is incomplete and deadly carbon dioxide can be produced. The yellow flame is usually caused by a lack of oxygen getting to the flame. The ports and tubes can be cleaned by inserting a pipe cleaner or small wire into each hole. In addition, insects and spiders sometimes build nests in the venturi tube. You can remove the tube and clean it out with a small bottle-type brush. Check the hose attached to the tank, if it is worn or cracked it has to be replaced. Also, check all the connections by spraying or brushing on a 50/50 mixture of water and liquid soap. Open the valve on the propane tank or the natural gas supply line while leaving the burners off. Any bubbles indicate a gas leak. Tighten the fittings and if that does not eliminate the leak, the parts will have to be replaced. Keep the grill clean to prevent grease flare-ups.

Step 3


Now that the gas grill is cleaned and in top condition, it is time to discuss proper and safe lighting. The following are general guidelines but you should always follow the manufacturers' instructions. First, always open the grill lid prior to turning the gas on. This will help prevent the buildup of propane or natural gas inside the grill. Turn the grill or heat controls. While standing back away from the grill, push the igniter switch. If the grill does not start right away, turn off the gas and wait for the accumulated gas to dissipate. If the igniter switch has failed, insert a long lighted match or barbeque lighter through the side burner hole and then turn on the gas.

Step 4

Weber Charcoal Grill

Charcoal or wood burning grills are easier to maintain and clean except for the disposal of the ashes. As with a gas grill, they must be kept clean to prevent grease flare-ups. Also, always follow the manufacturers' instructions when lighting and caring for the grill. In addition, always use an approved lighter fluid and never gasoline or other flammable liquids to light the grill. In addition, adding lighter fluid after the fire has started could cause a flame-up and a flash fire. There are charcoal products on the market that do not require any lighter fluid to ignite the briquettes.

Step 5

Weber Electric Grill
Any safety discussions on grilling will have to also include electric grills. As with the other types of grills they must be kept clean to prevent grease flare-ups. Also you should always follow the manufactures' instructions for using and caring for the grill. With electricity there is the potential for electric shock. The wiring for the grill should always be done by a qualified electrician

Whether cooking burgers, dogs, ribs, pork chops, seafood, steaks or vegetables, there is something magical in the taste of food cooked on a barbecue grill. Always use safe practices whenever you are outside grilling up that special feast.

Tips & Warnings

Always have a fire extinguisher and first aid kit nearby.

Never connect a burner built for natural gas to a propane source.

Charcoal can take up to 48 hours to cool. Make sure they are completely cooled before disposing of the ashes.

Only use approved charcoal lighter fluid. NEVER, EVER use gasoline or other flammable liquids to light a grill.

Use caution when transporting propane cylinders keeping them in a secured, upright position.



Jan 27, 2010 8:38pm
Outstanding article that points out the importance of safety and maintenance fo a Backyard Barbecue and goes on to provide simple detailed instructions on both of these issues. This has been the first sign of spring! Thank you.
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