Fire up the Grill: Quick Tips for Grilling Safely

Thursday, May 22, 2014 4:31 PM

It's finally time to get that grill out of the garage and enjoy the sunshine and warmer temperatures with your friends and family. Enjoy it but it's also important you doing so with safety in mind. Jerry Leikin, MD, Medical Toxicologist at NorthShore, offers the following instructions for ensuring you are observing proper food preparation and grill safety:

  • Check the temperature. Most meats (including poultry, ground beef and pork) should be cooked to 160-165 degrees. Depending on how well done you like your steak, temperatures can vary. If it’s pink, chances are it might not be completely done.
  • Exercise proper food handling to avoid contamination. Keep all food and surfaces clean. Don’t reuse plates or utensils that have been in contact with raw meats or meat juices.
  • Dress the part. Don’t wear loose-fitting clothing around an open flame; it could catch fire and spread quickly. It's also a good idea to wear closed-toed shoes around hot coals and burning wood. If you’re worried about stains, then keep that grilling apron on.
  • Use your grill strictly outdoors. Grills should not be used indoors or in enclosed areas (including your garage), as they release carbon monoxide and other dangerous gases. Keeping your grill in the open air may also reduce the chances of unwanted fire.
  • Keep gas and other flammable materials away from the grill. These items should not be located near your grill at any time as they increase the risk of fire.
  • Watch your kids. Grills heat up fast and the last thing you want is for someone to get burned or hurt right before mealtime. Make sure you warn your kids about the dangers of a grill and don’t let them get too close.
  • Stay hydrated. When the grill and temperatures are hot, you want to be sure you are getting enough fluids to avoid any heat-related illnesses.

What are some of your favorite healthy foods to grill?

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