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Sara Hansen

Outdoor Cooking Done Safely: Safety Tips for Grilling / Smoking Meat

With springtime quickly approaching, that also means more outdoor cooking time. And while you are planning your next backyard barbecue get-together, it’s also important to remember the potential risks involved. Thus, we have a perfect opportunity to talk about important safety tips for grilling or smoking meat. 

Though you may have heard some of these before, it is always a good idea to revisit them, putting them at the front of your mind to make sure you are being safe when working around your outdoor cooker.

So, in this article, we’ve covered the most important grilling safety tips to help you make sure your next BBQ is both delicious and safe.


Have the Right Tools on Hand

Using the right tools and supplies is key for safe grilling and smoking. The first aspect of this is to make sure you’re using grilling and smoking utensils that are of high quality and in good condition. If any of your current tools are coming apart, throw them out and replace them.

Another important thing to remember is that you should be using long-handled tools. Long-handled tongs, spatula, and grill brush will help ensure your hands are far enough away from the direct heat to avoid getting burned. You should also be using heat-resistant gloves to help keep your hands protected as well. 

It is also important to check your fuel source. If you’re using a charcoal, pellet, or wood-fired grill, make sure the fuel source is dry and that you’re using the right type for your grill. If you’re using a gas grill, check the hoses and connections for any signs of wear and tear. If needed, replace any of those parts before using your grill. 

Finally, make sure to always keep a fire extinguisher handy in case of a flare-up emergency.


Clean Your Grill Properly and Keep It Clean

Properly cleaning and maintaining your grill will help keep it in top shape and reduce the risk of fire. Before you start grilling, scrape off any old food and grease that may have built up. This will help prevent flare-ups and keep your food from sticking. 

Then, after you’re done grilling, put the heat on high and clean the grates (and any other inner parts of the grill as needed) with a wire grill brush. Also, wipe down the outside of the grill with a damp cloth to remove any grease or dirt.

Ideally, you want to keep your grill or smoker covered in between cooking sessions to help keep it clean and protected.


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Keep an Eye on the Cooking Temperature

When it comes to grilling and smoking, the temperature is key. Not only with the meat’s internal temperature but the temperature of the cooker itself. So, keep an eye on the temperature of the grill at all times and make sure it’s not too hot or too cold. 

Too hot and you risk burning your food and significantly increase the chances of starting a fire. Too cold and your food won’t cook through properly, putting you at risk of food safety issues. Make sure to invest in a quality digital thermometer to frequently monitor the internal temperature of your grill or smoker, as well as a separate meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of your food.


Be Careful with Charcoal and Wood

When using charcoal or wood for grilling or smoking, it’s important to be extra careful. Both can be dangerous if not used properly. When using either, make sure it is dry, you are using the right type, and that you ignite a small amount first and slowly add to it to reduce the risk of an out-of-control flare-up.


Use a Two-Zone Cooking Setup

Grilling with two separate temperature zones, a direct heat side and an indirect heat side, is an essential safety measure. By ensuring that one side of the grill is not as hot as the other, you can avoid flare-ups and other dangerous situations by having the flexibility to move items away from the direct heat if needed. 

Additionally, having two temperature zones allows you to sear or roast on the same grill and cook several different meats or types of food at the same time. This way, you can cook items that require different cooking times or temperatures simultaneously, eliminating the need to move food around and further reducing the risk of injuries.


Be Mindful with Marinades

Marinades are a great way to add flavor to your food, but they can also be dangerous if not used properly. When using marinades, make sure you’re using a non-acidic marinade. Using an acidic marinade for meat can cause the pH to drop too low, leading to the potential for bacterial growth.

You also want to make sure that you’re marinating the food for the proper amount of time. Marinating for too long can cause the meat to become oversaturated and begin to spoil.

Finally, be aware that marinades can cause flare-ups, so be sure to keep an eye on the temperature and watch for any signs of a fire starting.


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Keeping Safety in Mind is Important for Grilling/Smoking Success

Of course, grilling and smoking are fun and delicious ways to prepare a variety of different meats and other items. But it’s very important to keep safety guidelines in mind in order to make sure it’s done properly and safely. 

By following these safety tips for grilling, you can make sure you're keeping yourself and your loved ones safe while still enjoying the flavor of the food you love. So the next time you fire up the grill, remember these tips and keep your grilling experience a safe and enjoyable time.

Do you have any other grilling safety tips to share? Leave a comment below and tell us about it. We want to hear from you!

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Don't forget to subscribe to the BBQ Champs Academy YouTube channel for the latest news and exclusive info straight from the pros!

Sara Hansen

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One comment on “Outdoor Cooking Done Safely: Safety Tips for Grilling / Smoking Meat”

  1. Grilling and smoking meat outdoors is a great way to enjoy delicious food with friends and family. However, it's important to prioritize safety when doing so. This article provides valuable safety tips for outdoor cooking, such as keeping a fire extinguisher nearby, wearing proper clothing and accessories, and keeping children and pets away from the grill or smoker.

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