Safe Grilling Is No Accident

Memorial Day means it's time to fire up the grill!

But you have to make sure you and everyone around you stay safe when you do!

And on The Early Show Friday, Best Life magazine Senior Editor Joel Weber gave pointers on putting safety first at the grill.

He covered both charcoal and gas grills.

MAKE SURE GRILL IS SAFE AND CLEAN AND LEAK-FREE

Propane grills: Mix equal amounts of liquid dish soap and water. Brush that mixture over the hoses and connectors. Open the shut-off valve, and if you see bubbling (which indicates a leak), immediately turn the gas off and replace faulty components.

Grates: A grate is easy to clean when it's hot, and almost impossible to clean when it's cold. Cover the grill and heat for 10-15 minutes. Open the top and aggressively scrape the grill clean with a stiff wire brush until it's as clean as possible. Once the grill is clean, take wads of paper towels soaked in vegetable oil and sprinkle course salt on them as an abrasive. Using long-handled tongs, coat the grates with the oil. Do this all summer long before putting meat or vegetables on the grates.

CHECK YOUR FUEL

Charcoal: Store charcoal in a sealed metal container whenever possible to keep it dry. Load a chimney starter with some newspaper and briquettes, light the paper, and let everything burn for 10-15 minutes, allowing the briquettes to turn gray and burn evenly. Add to the grill.

Gas: Pick up the tank. A full one will weigh twice as much as an empty one. OR: If you're not sure, check the gas level in a propane tank by pouring a cup of boiling water over its side. The water will condense at the level where there's gas.

DON'T PLAY WITH FIRE!

Never light a gas grill with the lid closed -- you'll get a gas build-up and a possible explosion. Also, never cut your meat on the grill. Not only does it lose its flavor, grease will drip onto the flame and cause a flare-up. Always leave a portion of your grilling surface open so you can move meats out of the way as flames subside. An ideal grilling surface has at least one-quarter empty with no flame beneath that spot.

COOKING FOOD PROPERLY

Insert an internal meat thermometer through the side of steaks, chops, chicken breasts, burgers, etc. -- not through the top. Meat is safe when the temperature registers 160 degrees for pork and beef or 170 degrees for chicken.
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