BBQ Grilling Safety Tips

Cinco de Mayo is tomorrow, a holiday which officially kicks off the BBQ season as far as we’re concerned. Here are a few grilling tips from the FDNY and the USDA. Highlights include:

Keep Everything Clean
Be sure there are plenty of clean utensils and platters. To prevent foodborne illness, don’t use the same platter and utensils for raw and cooked meat and poultry. Harmful bacteria present in raw meat and poultry and their juices can contaminate safely cooked food.

If you’re eating away from home, find out if there’s a source of clean water. If not, bring water for preparation and cleaning. Or pack clean cloths, and wet towelettes for cleaning surfaces and hands.



1. For PROPANE Grills – turn off the burners. For CHARCOAL Grills – close the grill lid. Disconnect the power to ELECTRIC Grills.
2. For PROPANE Grills – if you can safely reach the tank valve, shut it off.
3. If the fire involves the tank, leave it alone, evacuate the area and call the fire department (911).
If there is any type of fire that either threatens your personal safety or endangers property,
4. NEVER attempt to extinguish a grease fire with water. It will only cause the flames to flare up. Use an approved portable fire extinguisher.


Fire Safety / Barbeque [FDNY]
Barbecue and Food Safety [USDA]
(Photo: Kim Scarborough)


Edit Your Comment

  1. timmus says:

    5. Don’t marinade meat with gasoline, even though Uncle Fred thinks it would be a hoot.

  2. Andamom says:

    Keep kids, pets, and everyone else away from the hot surfaces of grills, charcoal/flames, utensils, etc. Mild burns may be treatable at home — but more severe burns should be brought to emergency immediately. When in doubt, seek help.

  3. B says:

    Also, don’t use the grill indoors.

  4. bambino says:

    Also, don’t fill a propane tank with gasoline.

  5. dsk says:

    I also suggest using common sense.

  6. Yozzie says:

    Also, sing the Moo & Oink jingle while grilling your tasty meat products.

    “Mooooo and… oiiiinnnk?”

  7. GitEmSteveDave says:

    6. If gas grill fails to light, make sure to turn OFF the gas before you investigate by sticking your head in the grill while using a match for light.

  8. mopar_man says:


    You beat me to it. All of this wouldn’t be necessary if people used that a little more often.

  9. TechnoDestructo says:

    Can I get a 6 pack of discount caskets at Costco?

  10. TechnoDestructo says:

    @TechnoDestructo: Dammit.

  11. Trai_Dep says:

    Remember: the innocent only smoke, while witches BURN!

  12. MentalDisconnect says:

    What have you heard about flailing your hands and screaming as a way to put out a fire?

  13. timmus says:

    In the U.S., the recommended fire safety tip is to allow the fire to run its course, then go to an attorney and find a scapegoat that’s responsible. It’s helpful to have an idiotic excuse like not realizing that the BBQ grill would get hot.

  14. AcidReign says:

    @MentalDisconnect: That’s what they always did in The Sims!

    …..I’ll have to add: use enough charcoal starter to begin with. Adding fluid to smoldering grill that didn’t quite get going is asking to get your eyebrows singed off, or worse if flame travels back up the stream to the bottle!

  15. NTidd says:

    “Keep everything clean”
    I had a chuckle about this one, I haven’t cleaned my grill for over a year and a half, I always use the same spatula and clean it each fall. Also use the same plate, haven’t died yet.

    Delicious burgers.

  16. MrFlashport says:

    and if you live in an apartment or condo, don’t be the tool who thinks it’s a brilliant idea to use his Hibachi on the patio. All it takes is one ash to blow into your common roof and you ruin everyone’s day in your building. Use common sense. Oh yeah and don’t try using it inside either…

  17. gwong says:

    You mean I shouldn’t dip my cooked chicken into the leftover marinade that the raw chicken sat in? Say it ain’t so!

  18. Trai_Dep says:

    For those ppl still using fluid, I heartily recommend using those metal funnel coal starters that you pack newspaper underneath then light. Thru the miracle of convection, it starts a glowing core up the center of the cylinder of coals, nicely lighting the coals uniformly, quickly and with NO carcinogenic fumes. Even great on windy days! Costs about $10.

    I was skeptical when I first saw them (what, no napalm option?!), but I’m converted.

    Not quite as efficient as using jowley obese oil company CEOs to start your fire, but much quieter!

  19. The Walking Eye says:

    @trai_dep: I made one of my own by buying a small metal paint bucket and ripping the bottom of it out. Drilled some holes in the side all over the bucket and put my newspaper underneath the bottom grill grate where the ashes collect. Works like a charm, and it has a built in handle. The only caveat is needing to use a pair of pliers to take the bucket out of the grill, but I’ve never come close to burning myself. Cost was about $3, labor about 10 minutes.

  20. FLConsumer says:

    “Keep things clean”!?!? What? It’s sacrilege to clean the grill.