Grilling and outdoor cooking are great ways to free up the kitchen as you make your Super Bowl party food. But like with any other event that involves cooking with gas grills, barbecue grills, charcoal smokers, and involves a flame, you could be creating a fire hazard or putting yourself at risk for burns.
"When you're smelling the barbecue, it's easy to forget that grills—both gas and charcoal—are still an open source of flame and a potential danger," says Dr. Brett Arnoldo, a burn surgeon at UT Southwestern Medical Center.
To help prevent a trip to the emergency room during your football party and before the final touchdown occurs, here are 12 grilling tips to help you avoid starting a fire or burning yourself, and what to do should your outdoor cooking get out of hand.
- Don't pour water directly on hot coals. The steam the water creates can rise up unexpectedly and scald you or anybody else nearby.
- Use baking powder to help contain grease fires.
- Always have an extinguisher nearby in case flames get out of control or something else nearby catches fire.
- Never use gasoline as a source of ignition.
- Never leave a lit grill unattended.
- Keep children and pets at least three feet from a grill to help avoid burns or accidentally knocking over the grill.
- Don't wear clothing that could easily catch fire when you bend over the grill. These include scarves, sleeves, and apron strings.
- Always reach for and use flame-retardant oven mitts and long utensils to avoid burns.
- Never try to move a hot grill.
- Be sure to wait for coals to cool off before disposing.
- Never use a charcoal grill indoors, or inside a tent, RV, even your garage. That's because burning charcoal produces carbon monoxide, which is deadly.
- Practice good cold weather grilling techniques as I explained in my recent story "5 Easy Winter Grilling Tips."