Grilling Safety & Precaution: The Do’s and Don’ts

Jim Bob – A long-time contributor to GrillBabyGrill. Jim has had a lifelong relationship with the art of grilling, passed on from his father and grandfather to him.

Grilling Safety & Precaution: The Do’s and Don’ts

Steak sizzling, the sun shining, and the aroma of grilling vegetables is the perfect picture of a backyard barbecue. Grilling in the summer is a fantastic way to entertain family and friends in your home, but it’s important to understand how to do so safely. When operating charcoal, gas, and electric grills, there are various precautions you should take to create a safe space where everyone can enjoy their meal. 

By committing these safety tips to memory, you can eliminate hazards from your outdoor entertaining space and understand how to keep an eye on potential dangers while grilling. Staying alert and applying preventative measures can reduce risks before they become a problem.

1. Grilling Safety Tips

grilled food

Understanding how to operate your grill safely is essential to enjoying a summer barbecue to its fullest. With these grilling safety tips, you can keep the party going and be aware of potential hazards in your backyard.

Ensure Your Grill is Stable

A grill must sit on a flat surface to avoid it tipping over. A grill pad can sometimes help create a more even area.

Keep Your Grill Clean

Grease and fat buildup can lead to unexpected flare ups. By keeping your grill clean, you’ll avoid these hazards and make the cooking process more enjoyable.

Grill Outdoors

This may seem self-explanatory, but a surprising number of people believe it’s okay to grill indoors if you have a small portable grill when this is not the case. In addition to being a fire hazard, grilling releases carbon monoxide, which is extremely dangerous indoors. Always set your grill up outside in the fresh air or on top of solid and secure table.

Position the Grill Away From Structures

Your grill should be at least 10 ft. away from any structures, including your house, garage, or garden shed, for maximum safety. In the event of a flare up or sparks flying, this keeps these buildings out of harm’s way.

Allow Coals to Cool

When you’re cooking with a charcoal grill, always let your coals cool completely before disposing of them.

Don’t Overload Your Grill

Overloading your grill can be hazardous in the event of a flare upbecause there’s no free zone to move the items to and get them out of the way. This is especially important if you’re cooking fatty meats that can drip and encourage flames to leap higher.

Check For Gas Leaks

Before each grilling season begins, you should check your propane tank or natural gas line for gas leaks. The safest way to do this is by applying a solution of water and soap to the hose or pipe before turning on the gas. If there are bubbles, this indicates a leak.

In some cases, you will also be able to smell a leak if the scent of gas is present when the grill isn’t turned on.

Keep a Fire Extinguisher On Hand

No matter how careful you are, it’s always possible for a flare up to occur and get out of control. Having a fire extinguisher handy, and knowing how to use it properly, can save you in an emergency.

Turn On Your Grill With the Lid Open

When turning on or lighting your gas grill, you should never have the lid closed. This can cause gas to build up inside the grill and result in a dangerous flare up when you eventually open the lid.

Never Leave Your Grill Unattended

Fire spreads quickly, and if you leave your grill unattended for even a few minutes, immense damage can occur. Always make sure you’re available and present for the duration of the process so you can monitor your grill throughout.

With these grilling safety tips, you can keep your friends, family, and house safe while enjoying some delicious food this summer. It might seem like a lot to remember, but as you get into the habit of performing regular safety checks and maintaining a safe environment, watching out for hazards will become second nature to you.

2. Types of Grills


There are a variety of grill types you might be using, and each presents its unique challenges. Understanding the hazards associated with your specific grill can help means you’re better prepared to deal with them.

Gas Grill

Gas grills pose a fire risk, and a gas fire is especially dangerous because it should not be extinguished with water. Individuals with gas grills should be especially careful to have a fire extinguisher within reach for emergencies. 

Gas grills also pose risks for a gas leak or, on rare occasions, a propane tank explosion. That’s why checking your grill for gas leaks at the beginning of the season is essential.

Read more: Top rated propane grills.

Charcoal Grill

The nature of cooking with open flames on a charcoal grill presents the risk of flare ups, especially from fatty foods or those with a lot of oil. Food can burn easily on a charcoal grill if it’s left unattended, and it’s a good idea to keep water nearby in case you need to douse the flames.

Electric Grill

Electric grills are generally safer than charcoal or gas grills but this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be watchful of electric appliance hazards. The greatest risk with electric grills is improper use of an extension cord that may become a safety hazard. Always ensure you are using extension cords suitable for outdoors and that you’re plugging into an outlet with sufficient voltage.

Wood Pellet Grills

Pellet grills also offer the potential for fire, especially if they are kept close to the ignition source throughout the grilling process. Pellets are made to be extremely flammable, so you should be cautious about leaving them in the vicinity once you’re set up, and you light the grill. One spark traveling too far could result in an unwanted fire. 

Also, avoid harmful fumes and carbon monoxide emitted by wood pellet grill because they are especially dangerous indoors. This is why it is critical to only use a grill outside in open air.

Jim Bob

Jim Bob

Final Thoughts

Safety First.

Taking time to understand the hazards that your specific grill type presents can make you a safer chef this summer. Not only will you be able to eliminate potential hazards where possible, but you’ll be ready to tackle anything that crops up by having the proper safety equipment on hand. With a few simple precautions and smart decisions, grilling can provide summer fun for the entire family.