Andy OnCall


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The long holiday weekend is just hours away. Most of us will be firing up the grill and having friends and or family over. So, it is especially important to be safe when using a grill.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, grills cause nearly 9,000 house fires every year, and thousands of people end up in the emergency room with fire related injuries. So how can you avoid becoming one of these statistics?

Before using your grill, make sure everything is in proper working order. Check all the connections between the propane tank, the fuel line and the connection into the grill. Make sure no animals have made nests or anything that could prove problematic. Next, check yourself: Don’t wear lose fitting clothes that could easily catch fire.

Make sure your grill is clean. Any grease or build up on the cooking surface can start a fire. If that should happen, the proper way to put it out is to use a fire extinguisher that is properly rated for that application.

If you are using a charcoal grill, remember that the charcoals take a long time to cool down. So just don’t dump them on the grass or trash after grilling. It can start a fire. Dump lots of water on them before emptying them.

Here are a few other things to keep in mind. Make sure the grill is away from the house, shrubs or any surfaces that could melt or catch fire.

Now that we have gone over the safety tips, here are a few grilling tips:

1. No more oil on the grill

Here is a quick, easy and flavorful way to prevent food from sticking to the grill, while also adding extra flavor to the meats or fish you are grilling. Cut a large onion in two and cook a small fillet between them. It will keep the fish or meat from sticking to the grill without using a ton of oil. It also helps keep the fish or meat moist and tells you when to flip it — when the bottom of the onion is cooked through.

2. Preheating is the key

Preheating your grill before cooking on it will give you the best results; a hot grill will cook food faster and more evenly.

The amount of time that you should be preheating your grill depends upon what sort of fuel you prefer. If you’re using a gas grill, 15 minutes should enough time. However, if you are using charcoal briquets or hardwood chips, you will need a full half hour for best results.

And by the way, make sure you keep that lid on tight while you’re preheating. Otherwise, all the heat will escape, and you really won’t have preheated anything.

3. Don’t squander the residual heat

The grill will stay warm for quite a while after you turn it off, and it’s a shame to not take advantage of that residual heat. You can keep burgers, dogs, buns, and other nibbles on the covered grill to keep them warm.

Another use for a hot grill is for making desserts. There are campfire favorites like S’mores (laid out over a foil-covered grill) or a banana boat: cut a banana (in the peel) lengthwise, stuff it with marshmallows and chocolate chips, and wrap the whole thing up in aluminum foil. Leave it on the grill, and 30 minutes or so later, you’ll have an ooey gooey treat that will get the kids out of your hair and take very little effort. Or best of all, grilled pineapple with cinnamon sugar sprinkled on it. If you use your imagination, I am sure you can come up with quite a few more.

Enjoy your Labor Day Weekend!


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