The Thrill of the Grill: safety tips to go with your steak tips

GrillingTime to get creative and throw some steaks, tips, corn on the cob, burgers, chicken, shrimp and calamari (yes, squid) on the barbie…along with some Portobello mushrooms and some zucchini strips for the vegetarians among us. You name it; you can grill it…except for beans. I just read something about someone grilling lettuce – I’m not sure how good that is, but why not?

Ready to fire it up? You pulled the cover off the BBQ and peered inside. Now what? Stop and take a few minutes do some quick grill maintenance before you start cooking:

  • Check the tray underneath your grill. Get rid of that old replaceable spill tray from last year, and make sure you always use a clean one before you cook. Too much grease can start a fire under your grill and get out of control quickly.
  • Check the hoses to and from your fuel source. If your grill is powered by natural gas or propane, make sure fuel hoses are attached properly and don’t leak. Not sure? Have a licensed plumber check things out. Remember to always put your fuel line in the “off,” locked or closed position when you turn off your grill burners.
  • If your grill runs on charcoal or wood, follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully on how to best proceed. Have a fire extinguisher nearby.
  • Clean your grill grates. Use a wire grill brush to get rid of old cooking residue (ew). Let the grill heat up and cook off a bit before you use it.
  • Give it some space. Don’t put your grill too close to your house or on a fire escape. Keep a safe distance–usually at least 10 feet–from wooden and other structures. Check with your local fire department and read the rules for your building association before grilling on a balcony or other small space.

Read more grilling tips on the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Gas Grill Fact Sheet: http://www.cpsc.gov//PageFiles/137858/GasGrill_factsheet_2013.pdf

Simple, classic 5-minute Italian marinade: Mix extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, red pepper flakes, chopped fresh parsley, thyme, rosemary, sage and any other herbs from your garden in a bowl. Use separate bowls for meat, poultry, fish and veggies.

Let everything sit and marinade in the oil and herbs for as long as you like, then throw the marinated food (not the oil!) on the grill. Veggies go last. Always stay near the grill and watch what’s going on. Flip as needed.

Have an ice cold drink (Tip: try a half-and-half by mixing lemonade and ice tea over a big glass with ice and some fresh mint) while you wait.

Once your food is done, garnish with a little drizzle of fresh-squeezed lemon juice and some more fresh chopped parsley. Mangia!

Headquartered in Boston, Bunker Hill Insurance provides home insurance to customers in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Bunker Hill is a member of The Plymouth Rock Group of Companies, which together write and manage over $1 billion in homeowner’s and auto insurance throughout the northeast.