Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Let's get you grilling (safely!)


I doused the charcoals with lighter fluid and threw on a match. A tall flame exploded from the grill, striving to reach the wooden ceiling of my porch. Within a few seconds, the flames died down. I peered at the charcoals; they were black, as if they had never been lit. Guess I have to light it again, I thought.

I paused as I reached down to pick up the bottle of lighter fluid, wondering whether I should hold off. Would it be safe to re-light these so soon? The thought left my mind as quickly as it came. I tipped the bottle upside down and squeezed.

Boom.

The flames climbed the stream of lighter fluid quicker than my brain could process. The bottle exploded in my hand, flying across the porch; an explosion of hot air blew ash and dirt in a 10-foot radius around me. I stood stunned, wiping dirt off my face and checking to see if my eyebrows were still there.

A dumb grilling mistake that I shall never repeat. Good news is, the rest of the barbeque went fine, and, since no one was around to see me explode the grill, I kept it a secret. (And here’s a link to some good safety tips on grilling.)

I feel the need to retell it, though, because we are at the beginning of grill season. I hope all your barbeques went well over the Memorial Day weekend, and I hope they continue to go well for the rest of the summer. Grilling is one of the most enjoyable ways to cook (and we can cook virtually anything on a grill thanks to improvements in grill tool technology). There are a million great websites out there for grilling; here are two: Saveur’s newest issue is dedicated in part to grilling; also, CNN (of all news outlets) has put together a couple of simple, science-based grilling tips.

Good luck, and hang on to your eyebrows!

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