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BBQ dos and don’ts

The weather’s warming up, and you know what that means? It’s BBQ season! Get ready for grilling by brushing up on the dos and don’ts when it comes to grilling safely.

Grilling burgers

Ah, if the first warm breeze has you uncovering the BBQ and firing it up, have a read-through of these BBQ dos and don’ts to make sure you BBQ safe and soundly.

Do check the air vents

They should be open (if they’re closed, your fire will go out).

Do use a proper BBQ starter

Use newspaper or starter cubes to start your BBQ. Steer clear of volatile fuels such as lighter fluid, as this can cause dangerous flare-ups that you’re unprepared for.

Don’t use a water bottle to spray flare-ups

Keep any flare-ups under control by being ready to close the BBQ lid.

Don’t use utensils and plates that have touched raw meat

When you bring the meat out on a platter, make sure you have another clean one handy to place the meat on when it’s done grilling. The same goes for your tongs and any other BBQ utensils you’ve used while cooking the meat. Keep one set for raw meat and another set to remove it from the grill and to serve it once cooked.

Do keep the lid closed

You’ll potentially ruin the food (or at the very least throw off the grilling time) if you keep opening the lid, because each time you lift it to have a peek, you let precious heat escape. If you do lift the lid, be prepared to cook your food a longer time.

Don’t flip foods more than once

If you do, you risk the meat overcooking and becoming tough. (The exception, of course, is if the recipe calls for flipping your food more than once.)

Don’t push down on burgers

For some strange reason, many people feel compelled to push down on burgers with a spatula. When you push down on a burger, you squish out all the fats and oils that make it moist and tender — and end up with a tough, hard hockey puck.

Don’t serve undercooked meat, especially chicken

Use an instant-read thermometer, and if you must, slice into one piece of meat to check how well it’s done. (If you do this, keep this serving for yourself rather than your for guests, as when you slice into the meat, the juices will escape, and you want to serve your guests only the best.) Even if no one likes tough meat, overcooked meat is safer than undercooked meat. If using an instant-read thermometer, beef and fish should be 145 degrees F, and chicken, 165 degrees F.

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