I don't know about you, but I absolutely love BBQ. With the days getting warmer, it's time to pull out the old BBQ grill and get cooking...safely. Since I use the grill a lot in the summer, I'd like to share what I keep in mind whenever grilling my favorite meats and veggies.

One of my favorite BBQ foods are stuffed jalapeño peppers wrapped with bacon and stuffed with cream cheese (I can taste them now...). Of course we can't leave out the scrumptious hamburgers, which is an all-American favorite to say the least. But whatever your grilling fancy, I want everyone to be safe.

Before firing up the grill, consider some of these safety tips:

  • Fire Safety: It's always a good idea to make sure that before you grill, your BBQ unit is on a level surface away from bushes, shrubs, trees and patio overhangs. If you're going to cook with coal, cover the bottom of the grill, not to exceed 2 inches. Also, always use recommended firelighters or starter fuel on cold coals.
  • Keep the food cold: Many of you like to use condiments such as mayonnaise, mustard and catsup. It's best not to keep these foods out of the cold for more than a few hours or they will begin to spoil. Mayonnaise contains raw eggs which, if left out in the sun, could spur salmonella growth.
  • Cooking Meat On The "Barbie": Whatever type of meat that you plan to grill on the "Q", such as chicken, beef or sausages, make sure that the coals are glowing bright red with grey ashy areas. This is a great indicator that the coals are hot enough to cook your meat. Turning the meat frequently will ensure that it is cooking evenly. Remember that meat is ready to eat once the juices are clear and it is piping hot in the center (a meat thermometer is a great indicator, too!).
  • Wash your hands: It's easy to transfer bacteria and other germs through your unwashed hands and contaminated cooking utensils. It never hurts to wash as many times as you need to after handling raw meat, as the germs can move easily onto anything you touch, including already cooked meat.
  • Watch for children: For many kiddos, the BBQ grill is at head or eye level. As we have experienced, children like to lick and touch things....and it could include a hot grill. Please be aware of your kids, the neighbor kids and anyone else who might be tempted to play or walk around a hot grill.

I hope you all have a great time with your adventures in grilling. I know I will.