As the Labor Day holiday marks the unofficial end to summer, many people take the opportunity to throw one last bar-b-q or cookout before the weather turns colder and the kids go back to school. The NYC Fire Department released a set of tips and safety guidelines to help ensure your Labor Day cookout is a successful and safe one on Saturday, Aug. 31. You’ll want to check out their website for the full list of safety do’s-and-don’ts. Once you’ve covered safety, read on below for tips on getting the best grilling results for your picnic, as well as recipe suggestions.
When it comes to safety, be sure to follow these tips before using your grill:
– Be sure to check the tubes that lead into the burner for any blockage from insects or food grease.
– Inspect the propane hoses for cracking, brittleness, holes and leaks, but remember to never use a flame to check for gas leaks.
– Inspect the propane tank itself for any dents, gouges, bulges, corrosion, leakage, or excessive rust and return the tank to the propane gas distributor if you find any of these.
– Position the propane hoses as far away as possible from hot surfaces and dripping grease.
– Only allow a qualified repair-person make all repairs. Despite home improvement store shelves stocked with parts, do not attempt it yourself.
Once inspected, follow these tips for grilling safely:
– Only use grills outdoors. Never use in any enclosed area such as a trailer, tent, house or even a garage, since carbon monoxide can accumulate.
– Place your grill in an open area at least 10 feet away from buildings, railings and out from under any overhanging eaves or tree or bush branches.
– Use long-handled barbecue utensils to avoid burns and splatters.
– It’s best to wear short or tight fitting sleeves, as well as using flame retardant mitts.
– Have a “charged” garden hose or bucket of sand nearby to extinguish any small grill flare-ups. Once the grill is lit, never leave it unattended.
– When the grill is not in use, the propane tank valve must be turned to the “Off” or “Closed” position.
Now that safety is covered, it’s time to bone up on the tips for getting the best results out of your grill.
If you want to try something a little on the fancy side, Martha Stewart’s website is chock full of advice and delectable recipes.
Most experts agree on some basics though. We checked with countryliving.com for their top tips before you fire up that grill.
– Before you start, coating your food with a glaze, wet or dry rub, or a marinade will add extra flavor to whatever you’re cooking.
– Adding wood chips to either gas or charcoal grills will give even more added flavor.
– Be sure to scrub the grill grates clean before adding your food. This will prevent flavor “bleeding” and give clean grill marks.
– To prevent food from sticking, dab a small wad of paper towels in either canola or vegetable oil and then use your tongs to rub lightly on the grates.
– Resist the urge to overwork your food. When checking for doneness, don’t poke, stab, or repeatedly flip your food.
Hope this helps, and happy Labor Day grilling!