Cooking Safely Outdoors

Tips to Improve Your Experience

Cooking outdoors is a great past time that those of us who live in the Middle Tennessee area can enjoy for many months of the year. Those of us at Top Hat Outdoor Living want to equip you with not only the beautiful space to enjoy cooking outdoors, but also tips to help you do it safely.

Cooking outdoors poses certain safety hazards. Make sure everyone in your family knows how to minimize risk.

Cooking outdoors poses certain safety hazards. Make sure everyone in your family knows how to minimize risk.

Cooking safely outdoors involves not just the fire, but the food as well. Safe internal cooking temperatures are obviously important. Always be sure to cook you meats long enough. Too long can be an issue, as well. Cooking meats at high temps until they are charred causes hazardous substances to form. Using marinades, cooking at lower temps, and not overcooking the meat reduces this risk.

Safe Cooking Temperatures

  • Poultry Products 165° F
  • Ground Beef 160° F
  • Pork Products 155° F
  • Prime Rib 130° F
  • Beef Steak140° F

Keep plenty of space between your grill and anything that can catch fire. Never grill in an enclosed space and always make sure there is plenty of ventilation. While the smell of smoke off the grill is an enjoyable scent, avoid breathing it. Smoke contains carbon monoxide and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) that can cause cancer.

If using a gas grill, inspect all the parts regularly and shut everything off if you suspect there is a problem. NEVER pour lighter fluid or any type of fuel onto a gas grill. This can cause serious burns to anyone standing nearby.

Keep the grill clean after use to avoid injuries from flare-ups caused by grease buildup. Draining meats well before putting them on the grill will also prevent flare-up flames. If the flames get too high, do not throw water on them. Instead, close the lid. This cuts off oxygen and reduces the heat of the fire.

Referring to your operator manual may seem like a no-brainer, but it does contain a lot of important information, such as troubleshooting, safe placement, and how to clean your grill after use. Remember to always keep a fire extinguisher on hand, and know how use it. Never leave a fired grill unattended.

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