Reprinted with permission of the
Barbecue Industry Association. StarChefs thanks the BIA for its support and its commitment to
the safety of grillers everywhere.
Today, with more Americans lighting their
barbecue grills than ever before, it is important to always remember that a successful
barbecue is a safe barbecue. Following is a list of safety tips to guide you through the
grilling process. But remember, anytime you work with fire there's a chance of getting
burned. So take precautions! Common sense and planning will prevent injuries.
- Always read the owners manual before using your grill and follow specific usages,
assembly, and safety procedures. Contact the grill manufacturer if you have specific
questions about the operation of your grill.
- Barbecue grills are designed for outdoor use only. Never barbecue in your
trailer, tent, house, garage, or any enclosed area because carbon monoxide may accumulate
and kill you.
- Set up grill in an open area away from buildings, dry leaves or brush. Be sure to
avoid high traffic areas and always barbecue in a well-ventilated area. Be aware of the
wind blown sparks.
- When using a barbecue grill be sure all parts of the unit are firmly in place and
the grill is stable.
- Should electrically operated accessories (i.e. rotisseries, etc.) be used, be
sure they are properly grounded in accordance with local codes. Electrical cords should be
placed away from walkways.
- Use long-handled barbecue utensils to avoid burns and splatters.
- Wear clothing that does not have hanging shirt tails, frills or apron strings,
and use flame retardant mitts when adjusting hot vents.
- To put out flare-ups, either raise the grid the food is on, or spread the coals
out, or adjust the controls to lower the temperature. If you must douse the flames with a
light spritz of water, first remove the food from the grill.
- Use baking soda to control a grease fire and have a fire extinguisher handy. A
bucket of sand or a garden hose should be near if you don't have a commercial
- Never leave a grill unattended once it is lit.
- Don't allow anyone to conduct any activities around the grill when the grill is
in use, or following its use. The grill body is hot during the period of use and will
remain hot for a period of time following its use. Always use your grill away from
- Never attempt to move a hot grill.
The purpose of these safety tips is to set forth general safety practices and
precautions for the operation and maintenance of barbecue grills. These tips are not
intended to be an exhaustive treatment of the subject, and should not be interpreted as
precluding other procedures which would enhance safe barbecue grill operations. Issuance
of these safety tips should not be construed as an undertaking to perform services on
behalf of any party either for their protection or the protection of third parties.
The Barbecue Industry Association assumes no liability for reliance on
the contents of this information.
Charcoal/Wood Chunk Grilling Safety
- When using charcoal briquets or wood chunks,
form a pyramid and douse the briquets/chunks with lighter fluid. Wait until the fluid has
soaked in before lighting.
- Lighter fluid should be capped immediately
and placed a safe distance from the grill.
- Never add lighter fluid to existing hot or
- Never use gasoline, or kerosene or other
highly volatile fluids as a starter. They can explode.
- As an alternative to lighter fluid, use an
electric, solid, metal chimney, or other starter specifically made for lighting charcoal
briquets or wood chunks.
- After unplugging, remove a hot electric
starter cautiously and be careful where you put it. Always cool starter completely before
- Never use an electric starter in the rain
and/or when standing on wet ground.
- When using instant light briquets, do not
use lighter fluid, electric, solid, or metal chimney style starters. Do not add more
instant light briquets once the fire has been lit, add regular charcoal briquets if more
- Once the barbecue grill has been lit, do not
touch the charcoal briquets/wood chunks to see if they are hot. Keep grill uncovered until
ready to cook.
- All vents should be wide open while cooking.
Charcoal briquets/wood chunks require oxygen to burn.
- Allow coals to burn out completely and let
the ashes cool for 48 hours before disposing of them.
- Dispose of cold ashes by wrapping them in
heavy-duty aluminum foil and putting them in a non-combustible container. Be sure there
are no other combustible materials in or near the container.
- If you must dispose of the ashes in less
time than it takes for them to completely cool, remove the ashes from the grill keeping
them in heavy duty foil and soak them completely with water before disposing in a
Grilling Safety Tips
- There are limits on how much propane can be
put into a LP cylinder. The typical cylinder holds approximately 20 pounds of propane.
This leaves some room for the liquid to expand. DO NOT ask the propane supplier to
overfill the cylinder.
- When the LP cylinder is connected, the grill
must be kept outside in a well-ventilated space. When not in use, the LP cylinder valve
must be turned to the OFF position.
- If storing the gas grill indoors, the LP
cylinder must be disconnected, removed, and stored outdoors. Never store an LP cylinder
- Use a P.O.L. safety plug in the valve of a
LP cylinder with a 510 P.O.L. valve with no external threads whenever the LP cylinder is
not connected to your grill.
- Always store LP cylinders upright and in
areas where temperatures won't exceed 125 degrees Fahrenheit, and never store a spare LP
cylinder on or near a grill.
- Always check for gas leaks every time you
disconnect and reconnect the regulator to the LP cylinder.
- Never attach or disconnect a LP cylinder, or
move or alter gas fittings when the grill is in operation or is hot.
- Never use an LP cylinder if it shows signs
of: dents, gouges, bulges, fire damage, corrosion, leakage, excessive rust or other forms
of visual external damage; it may be hazardous and should be checked by a liquid propane
- After a period of storage, and/or disuse
(for example over winter), the gas barbecue should be checked for gas leaks,
deterioration, proper assembly, and burner obstructions before using.
- Clean the grill twice a year. Watch for
rust, paint the LP cylinder to make it more rustproof, and check the regulator, hoses,
burner parts, air shutter, and venturi/valve section carefully. Always turn off gas at the
source (tank or supply line) prior to inspecting parts. Check the owner's manual for any
additional maintenance requirements.
- Visually inspect hose(s) for abrasion, wear
and leaks. A soap and water solution may be used to test for leaks. Never use a flame to
check for gas leaks. Replace faulty hose(s), using a parts replacement kit, before
- When lighting a gas grill, always keep the
lid open to prevent an explosion from gas build-up.
- Do not lean over the grill when igniting the
burners or cooking.
- If a burner doesn't ignite, turn off the
gas. Keep the grill's lid open and wait five minutes before trying to light it again. If
the burners go out during operation, turn all gas valves to OFF. Open the lid and wait
five minutes before attempting to relight, using lighting instructions.
Grilling Safety Tips
- Basic safety precautions should be used when
operating this or any electrical appliance.
- Never immerse or expose cords, plug or
heating element in water or other liquid.
- Visually inspect cord, plug and all
connections for damage and wear before operation. Replace or repair prior to operation.
- Before plugging in or unplugging electric
grill, turn control knob(s) to OFF position.
- Unplug electric grill from outlet when not
in use and before cleaning.
- Electrical cords should always be secured
during operation to protect against product damage or personal injury.
- To ensure protection against risk of shock,
electric grill should be connected to a grounded outlet in accordance with local codes.
- Do not use an electric grill in the rain.
- Do not use electric grill near combustible
or flammable materials.
Food Safety Tips For Barbecuing
Barbecuing is popular year around, but
people head to their backyards to fire up the grill in record numbers when the
temperatures soar. Scrupulously following food safety guidelines is important at all
times, but it becomes especially crucial during warm weather because escalating
temperatures encourage bacteria and other pathogens to multiply and cause foodborne
illness. Here are some simple guidelines to help ensure safe grilling.
- When shopping for meat, fish and poultry, put them in your grocery cart last.
Never buy a package thats damaged or torn and check "sell-by" and
"use-by" dates. Put packaged raw meat in plastic bags so leaking juices cannot
cross contaminate other foods.
- Load grocery bags with meat and other refrigerated foods in the air-conditioned
section of the car, not in the trunk.
- Take groceries home immediately or bring along a cooler with ice packs and place
the meat in it. Refrigerate or freeze it as soon as possible.
- When carrying food to a picnic, the beach or a tailgating party, keep it cold.
Use an insulated cooler with sufficient ice or ice packs to keep the food at 40° F.
Remove food from the refrigerator and pack the cooler just before leaving the house.
- If including take-out foods -- such as deli potato salad, coleslaw or baked beans
-- eat within two hours of picking them up. Otherwise, purchase them in advance and chill
thoroughly, then transport in a cooler and reheat those that should be hot just before
- If you wont use meat, fish and poultry within a few days, freeze it
- Store refrigerated meat in the coldest part of the refrigerator in its original
packaging. The more times the food is handled the more chance of contamination. Put a
plate under the package, or place in a plastic bag, to avoid juices dripping onto
- Thaw frozen food in the refrigerator, never on the counter; allow sufficient
defrosting time. Or immerse packaged food in cold water to thaw. If youre in a
hurry, thaw in the microwave just before grilling it.
- Hand washing is paramount. Wash your hands in hot soapy water before preparing
food, after each time you touch raw meat, and after any interruptions such as using the
bathroom, handling pets, stopping to do something with children.
- Keep raw meat, poultry and fish and their juices away from other food. That means
thoroughly washing cutting boards, knives, platters, etc. before letting them come in
contact with other foods youre preparing or with cooked foods youre about to
- Sanitize cutting boards and countertops with chlorine bleach. Pour on small
amount and let stand several minutes, rinse thoroughly and air dry or dry with clean paper
towel. Soak sponges and dishcloths in hot soapy water to which youve added chlorine
- Marinate foods in the refrigerator, never on the counter.
- Boil any marinade to destroy bacteria if you plan to baste with it or serve it
with the cooked meat. Never save marinades for a second use.
- Pre-cook (chicken/ribs) immediately before grilling. Never let partially cooked
food sit for more than a few minutes before tossing it on the grill to finish it.
- Cook meat thoroughly. Rare is no longer de rigueur! Use a meat or "instant
read" thermometer to ensure a safe internal temperature. As a guideline, poultry
180°F (breasts 170°F), beef, lamb, veal roasts/steaks 145°F to 160°F, any burgers
160°F, all pork 160°F.
- When grilling away from home, take meat out of the cooler just in time to put it
on the grill and never take out more than will fit for immediate grilling. Keep cooler
- Reheat foods or fully cooked meats like hot dogs by grilling to 165°F, or until
- Trim excess fat from meat to avoid flare-ups; never char the meat.
- Refrigerate leftover food quickly (no more than two hours) and use within a
couple of days.
Copyright 1998. Reprint by permission only. Must be reprinted in entirety unless otherwise
approved by BIA.
All rights reserved.
Barbecue Industry Association
710 East Ogden, Suite 600
Naperville, Illinois 60563-8614
© Copyright 1998. Barbecue Industry
Association, Naperville, Illinois U.S.A. All rights reserved under both international and
Pan-American copyright conventions. No right of reproduction without the prior written
consent of the copyright holder.