Barbecue Safety 101: How to Keep the Sizzle without the Fizzle

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Enjoy the grill outside with safety
Get set for a weekend of getting the barbecue going...

THUNDER BAY – LIVING – Warmer weather brings out the desire and enjoyment of outdoor cooking.

While you get set to enjoy your favourites on the barbecue, be that steak, chicken, ribs, or a veggie stir fry, keeping safety with your gas fired grill really matters.

Here are some sizzling tips to make your BBQ experience as safe as it is delicious.

  1. Detective Work: Testing for Leaks Keep your BBQ spick and span. Use a pipe cleaner or wire to free those burner ports from any unwanted guests like rust, dirt, or spider webs. Make sure to give the hose leading from the gas tank to the burner a once-over, and if it looks like it’s seen better days, it’s time for a replacement.

    Now, here’s a trick worthy of Sherlock Holmes: prepare a solution of equal parts water and dish soap and apply it to propane cylinder connections and hoses. If bubbles show up, it’s elementary, dear Watson! You’ve got a gas leak. Tighten the connection, replace the damaged parts, and re-test.

  2. Light it Up, But Do it Right Ensure your BBQ is on level ground, away from anything flammable, with the lid wide open before lighting. Turn on the tank’s gas valve, then the grill controls or heat setting, and push the igniter button. If your BBQ is more old-school and doesn’t have an igniter button, use a long match or BBQ lighter through the side burner hole first, then turn on the heat control knob.

    Here’s a golden rule: if the burner doesn’t catch fire right away, turn off the gas, wait five minutes with the lid open, and try again. And remember, no leaning over the grill when lighting – keep those eyebrows intact!

  3. Keep it Outdoors Always BBQ outside in a well-ventilated area. BBQs are outdoor creatures – they emit carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas. And keep those propane cylinders outside, too. They have no business being inside any structure.
  4. The ABCs of BBQ Safety First things first – BBQs are not the time for multitasking. Stay focused and never leave your grill unsupervised. Keep kids and pets at a safe distance, and any flammable items or liquids – yes, that includes your trusty hand sanitizer – well away from the BBQ. Opt for hand washing instead. And remember, if a grease fire breaks out, water is not your friend.
  5. Balcony BBQs: Yay or Nay? If you’re an Ontarian living in an apartment or condo, make sure to check any additional safety restrictions or potential hazards related to balcony BBQs. Restrictions might be in place by your municipality, Condominium bylaws, building owner, or property manager.

    Don’t fire up that grill on your balcony if it’s against the rules. But if it’s allowed, ensure your balcony is open, transport propane cylinders properly, keep the BBQ clear of combustible material, and maintain safe distances from building openings and air intakes.

Remember to keep safety in mind around the barbecue and teach the children and grandchildren that the sides of the ‘Q’ are HOT!

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