10 Mistakes Not to Make the Next Time You Grill

As temperatures rise, homeowners love firing up the grill and eating outdoors. Yet just as with indoor food prep, there are some important rules and guidelines to follow when you're cooking outside. Play it safe and check out these 10 things you should never do when grilling.

  1. Never Leave the Grill Unattended

    Never Leave Grill Unattended

    Never walk away from a lighted grill, because the open flames present a fire hazard. Also, for safety's sake, always have a fire extinguisher on hand.

    Related: The Top 8 Ways to Hack Your Grill


  2. Never Use a Metal Brush

    How to Clean Grill Grates

    Avoid using metal-bristle brushes to clean your grill grates; the bristles can break off and become lodged in your food. Instead, rely on a wad of aluminum foil, dish scrubbies, or clean damp rags to wipe your grill—preferably while the grates are still warm.

    Related: 17 New Essentials for Your Best Ever BBQ


  3. Don't Run Out of Fuel

    Grill Running Out of Gas

    Make sure you have enough propane (or charcoal) to finish cooking your food before you start. Keep a spare full propane tank or bag of charcoal on hand, just in case.

    Related: 8 Best Buys for an Outdoor Kitchen You Can Afford


  4. Don't Use Lighter Fluid

    Should You Start a Grill With Lighter Fluid?

    Avoid using lighter fluid or lighter-fluid-infused charcoal briquettes, because the chemicals can impart a nasty flavor to your food. That’s also why you should never use gasoline, kerosene, or oil to start your grill!

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  5. Banish Bacteria

    How to Banish Bacteria on Grill

    Avoid food contamination both on and off the grill by following safe handling procedures: wash your hands, keep the food in the refrigerator until you’re ready to grill, and don't prepare raw meats and vegetables on the same surface. To be sure meats are sufficiently cooked, use a grill-safe thermometer to check that they've reached the proper internal temperature (165 degrees Fahrenheit for poultry, 160 degrees Fahrenheit for ground meat, and 145 degrees Fahrenheit for steaks or roasts).

    Related: Would Your Kitchen Pass a Restaurant Health Inspection?


  6. Skip the Sloppy Look

    Clothing for Grill Safety

    Don't wear loose clothing, scarves, or dangling jewelry while grilling; these items can potentially catch fire in open flames. If you have long hair, tie it back or tuck it under a hat to avoid singeing your lovely locks.

    Related: 10 Outdoor Living Ideas to Steal from California


  7. Never Skip Resting Time

    How Long Should Meat Rest?

    As tempting and mouthwatering as that just-cooked steak may appear, don’t cut into it immediately, or you'll end up with a dryer, tougher piece of meat. Rest your meat for a few minutes to give the internal juices time to redistribute through the muscle fibers. You'll be rewarded with juicy goodness in every bite. 

    Related: 18 Inspiring Ideas for Easy Outdoor Entertaining


  8. Don’t Char, Grill!

    Don't Overcook Your Grilled Foods

    Be careful not to overcook your meat. Not only does burned barbecue taste unappealing, but it also forms dangerous carcinogenic compounds, known as heterocyclic amines (HCAs), which have been linked to increased risks of pancreatic, colorectal, and prostate cancer.

    Related: 14 Cheap DIYs for a Better Backyard


  9. Stay Away from Smoke

    Is Grill Smoke Toxic?

    Never stand directly over a smoky grill, and avoid inhaling the fumes. Grill smoke contains carbon monoxide as well as substances called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which have been linked to increased risk of certain cancers—especially lung cancer.

    Related: 10 American-Made Buys for Your Outdoor Living Area


  10. Don't Drink and Grill

    Don't Drink and Grill

    Grilling under the influence of alcohol can be a recipe for disaster. Wait to pop open a cold one until the grilling and food preparation is complete, then help yourself to a recreational beverage while your meat is resting.

    Related: 9 Creative Ways to Build a Backyard Hangout


  11. Become A Grill Master

    Become A Grill Master

    There's an art to the perfect grill marks.


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