Those who want to host a successful cookout need to make sure they have the right ingredients. As well as food and drinks, the experts at DEKRA recommend using an appropriate space, having a good and stable grill without any noticeable defects that affect its operation, and being well prepared. It is crucial to thoroughly read through the grill’s operating instructions.
“The most important point is to never grill in enclosed spaces. Not inside a garage or shed, but in well-ventilated spaces – ideally outdoors,” cautions Axel Prütting, product testing expert at DEKRA. “The burning process releases carbon monoxide, which is highly toxic even in low concentrations and can lead to life-threatening poisoning.” Grills must never be repurposed as a heating system or fire basket.
Safety from the start
It is worth paying close attention when choosing a grill. It is worth paying attention to a device of good quality. Important aspects are good stability, solid workmanship of the fuel container and grate, as well as sufficient equipment, such as insulated handles, variable air supply and thermometer. However, it is still important to be careful: all new grills must be left to preheat for a half hour before grilling for the first time to eliminate any production residue.
When it comes to barbecuing itself, good preparation and a relaxed schedule lead to a relaxed event. Product expert Prütting recommends that barbecuers use high-quality charcoal or barbecue briquettes that meet the EN 1860-2 standard and allow sufficient time for lighting. It’s a little faster with a BBQ starter.
Risk of uncontrollable fire from gasoline and denatured alcohol
If the charcoal is not burning properly, the use of accelerants such as gasoline, denatured alcohol, or spirits is strongly discouraged. Even a single splash of denatured alcohol can be enough to cause a flash fire or fireball. DEKRA expert Prütting strongly advises using only approved lighting products, such as cubes or gels, that comply with the EN 1860-3 standard.
Heat protection for grillmasters
Long-handled grilling tools, extra-long matches, and heat-resistant grill gloves will protect barbecuers from burns. It is also important to take a look at the warnings in the operating instructions. The most important safety tips are:
- Pick a space with level, solid ground on which the grill cannot fall over
- Do not move a grill once it has been heated up
- Keep a watchful eye, especially when it comes to children and pets
- Stay at least five feet away from flammable materials like garden furniture or garden shed
- Shield from any wind, otherwise sparks may be blown around
Never cook steak over open flame
When it comes to the cookout itself, good preparation and a relaxed schedule will result in a laid-back event. “Even if it looks delicious, never cook your steak directly over an open flame,” warns the DEKRA expert, who enjoys firing up the grill in his leisure time. “The crispy dark spots on sausage and meat frequently contain harmful contaminants, which are often carcinogenic.”
The end of the party – the right way
The important thing towards the end of the party is to keep the grill under control as long as it remains hot and the embers are still smoldering. All the vents on the grill need to be closed to prevent any further oxygen from entering and, in turn, extinguish the embers. And never throw hot ashes or embers in the garbage – this is even more likely to start a fire!