Cooking out can be a fun, carefree experience for family and friends. But when you’re cooking over an open flame, remember to always respect the grill: According to the U.S. Fire Administration, about 5,700 grill fires take place on residential property every year, causing an annual average of $37 million in damage.
So, while some may keep their ancestral barbecue rub recipes secret, safe grilling tips can—and should—be shared with “keepers of the flame” everywhere! (Don’t worry, there’s plenty to go around…).
*Always carefully inspect your grill before the first cookout—especially if it’s been out of use for the winter.
*Leave plenty of space between the grill and your house, trees, picnic tables, or other structures—experts recommend 10 feet.
*Never leave a lighted grill unattended—and keep a fire extinguisher handy.
*If you’re using a gas grill, know how to work the shutoff valve to the propane tank or natural gas line.
*For those who side with Team Charcoal in the “grate debate,” always use lighter fluid designed for grilling (and never add fluid to the fire once it’s started). Also, be sure to soak hot coals with water before discarding them.