Gassing Up for Grilling Season: Safety First

Double-check these on your gas grill before lighting up

outdoor grill with raw steaks

You’ve pulled your old cornball “Grill Sergeant” apron off the garage shelf. You are ready.

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Barbecue season is finally here and this will be the best cookout year ever. You’re determined, too, to grill healthier this spring and summer. More fish and chicken. Fewer dogs and burgers.

So, time to turn on the gas. But first be sure your grilling buddy is safe and ready to crank out all those culinary masterpieces you’ve been waiting so long to whip up.

Look before you leak

Tom Tallman, DO, is an emergency room physician at Cleveland Clinic. He says the first and most important thing to do is check the grill’s gas line for leaks. Tighten all connections before testing.

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“The safe way to check is by spraying or pouring a mixture of liquid soap and water over the line,” says Dr. Tallman. “Turn on the fuel — if bubbles form anywhere on the line, you have a leak. That’s an issue you have to fix before lighting it.”

If there is a leak, turn to a professional to fix it.

Check these off before lighting up

If your grill is leak-free, a few more tips to follow before lighting up:

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  1. Tighten it up. Double-check to be sure all gas connections are tightened securely.
  2. Assume the (safe) position.  Move your grill to an open spot on your lawn, deck or patio. Make sure it’s not under an awning or overhanging branches.  
  3. Deep clean the leftover gunk. Dr. Tallman advises you to remove the grease and fat buildup in the trays below the grill so the old gunk isn’t ignited. “If you’ve left any of the grease or old stuff on the grids over the winter it’s probably going to be moldy and dirty. All that needs to be scrubbed down really good,” he says.
  4. Scrape and vacuum. Pull out the grates and scrape the inside of the grill. Vacuum the debris that’s left behind.

Congratulations. Your grill’s now safety-checked and prepped for your most excellent creations in this season’s hot cuisine.

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