Why stop at backyard barbecues? You can grill on the go, whether you’re camping, picnicking or road tripping in the RV. Equipment is portable, most public spaces are grill-friendly and you can get safety tips right on your smartphone. Just remember to be as careful as you are at home: “Grilling safety doesn’t change based on location. No matter where you are, make sure you are using your grill safely and check your surroundings for unfamiliar or new hazards,” says National Safety Council (NSC) spokesperson Amy Artuso. The following safety checklist can help you grill at will for maximum summer fun.
Shrink The Grill
The boom in the portable grilling trend is partly driven by product innovation. (Some grills have shrunk as small as 13.7 square inches!) Beyond conventional hibachis, which use charcoal, small gas grills, costing from $170 to $250, can perform as well as their full-size counterparts.
Regardless of the size, a key feature to look for is stability. “That can prevent tipping,” says Linda Orrison, president of the National Barbecue Association. “When shopping, you’ll want to carefully check the construction.” Look at—even jostle—the assembled grill to test its sturdiness. The more stable, the better.
For real streamlining, limit utensils to long-handled tongs and forks, and a digital meat thermometer. You can toss that old wire-bristle grill brush, since loose bristles have occasionally been ingested, sending roughly 1,700 Americans to the ER between 2002 and 2014, reports the American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery.
Scout Your Spots
Every open space has rules governing grilling, cleanup, and even type of fuel and number of guests allowed. You can find specific guidelines by doing an online search for “safe grilling” and the name of your city, state, or the specific name of the beach or park. Training camp practices and little league games mean stadium tailgating is still in season. Individual stadium rules are posted year-round on their websites.
Shop In Time
Go grocery shopping a few days before the barbecue, not months. Buy hot dogs, for example, within two weeks of the tailgate or cookout; and purchase raw meat a couple of days beforehand. Grill-friendly corn-on-the-cob, on the other hand, can be refrigerated for two to three weeks.
Gas Or Charcoal?
A 2015 study of American grill owners by the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association found that 62 percent have gas grills. But whatever type you prefer, try choosing according to the product upkeep you can handle. For gas, the NSC recommends biannual cleanings; regularly checking for leaks; and being vigilant in keeping the lid open when lighting the grill, among other safety precautions. For charcoal, the organization suggests never restarting flames by adding lighter fluid; wearing insulated oven mitts; using a water-filled spray bottle for flare-ups and cooling ashes before discarding.
If you’re an RVer, having recreational vehicle insurance coverage could help you navigate unique situations you may encounter on the road!
By Kelly Beamon