While BBQing may be reserved for summer in most parts of the U.S., the California sun in the middle of April means it’s time to break out the grill. For those of you chosen amongst your friends to be Grillmaster, remember that while your position comes with great power, it also comes with great responsibility. While your friends are at your every whim — mainly that of drinking beer — you’re also put in a perilous position: you have direct control over food, and you’re responsible for safety.
In order to avoid any incidents, it’s important to keep a couple things in mind when grilling: people don’t want to get sick after eating your food or catch fire while you’re cooking it.
Have multiple utensils around.
Avoid cross-contamination, and keep track of what plates and tools are used for raw and cooked foods. Don’t mix them up.
Keep an instant-read meat thermometer handy.
Make sure you’re cooking to safe temperatures. While steaks and burgers can be served between rare and well done (140-165 degrees Fahrenheit), pork, fish, chicken and other poultry must be cooked completely and be free of pink (about 135 degrees for fish and 165 degrees for everything else).
Keep a spray bottle full of water with you and a fire extinguisher ready.
In case of flare-ups, you have a quick solution; if things get a bit more out of hand, you have a fire extinguisher or a bucket of water.
Do not squirt lighter fluid onto hot coals.
As tempting as it may be, don’t. On a similar note, don’t grill on a windy day.
Don’t distract the Grillmaster, and never leave a grill unattended.
Remember, a grill can be heated up to 500 degrees.
While most people associate grilling with the oft-encountered, tried-and-true burgers, brats, hot dogs and steaks, keep in mind that grilling is simply a method of cooking and it should not dictate the food you prepare. If you’re feeling adventurous, try using different forms of meat, such as grilling meatballs or kebabs, or by using different seasonings. An easy way to add more flavor to your grill is by introducing hardwoods such as maple, mesquite or hickory.
For those that don’t eat meat, grilling is also a very viable option for cooking vegetables. Eggplant, mushrooms, peppers, corn and asparagus work particularly well, especially when marinated.
With a few safety tips in mind, grilling can be a delicious way to take advantage of Spring Quarter: great weather, Snappa for hours and tasty food. Happy (and safe) grilling!