OYO: Tips for a safe, happy backyard BBQ

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 Click here to download Doug's guide to gas grill safety AND his recipe for amazing grilled sweet corn. 

In this week's Owning Your Outdoors, we drift away from the lawn, garden, and flowers and focus on what I would argue is one of the most important elements of the backyard or patio: The grill. Gas grills in particular do require a little work. If not properly maintained, they can be dangerous. Our yard and garden expert, Doug Schroeder from Lewis, is also quite the grill master and has some tips on how to stay safe when using your gas grill.

Doug says the first thing you want to do is be sure that your grill is a safe distance from structures or anything that could catch fire. Ten, maybe even fifteen feet away is best. Second, be sure to always open the grill lid before you turn on the gas and ignite the grill. Failing to do so could result in an explosion. Never leave your grill unattended, especially if you have children nearby. The outside of a grill becomes very hot and dangerous.

There are certain things you should always have nearby when grilling. A water bottle is handy when dealing with flare-ups on the grill. Larger fires, especially grease fires will require a fire extinguisher. Always have a working fire extinguisher nearby when you are grilling.

If your grill doesn't work there are a couple of things you can check. First, be sure that you have propane in your tank. If you have propane and the grill still doesn't seem to be working, it could be the regulator. Your grill's regulator can malfunction when you turn off the propane tank without first turning off the grill burners. To fix the problem, turn off the burners and close the propane tank valve. Then, disconnect the propane tank from the grill. After the propane tank is disconnected, turn the grill burners to the on position and let them sit for a few minutes. After a few minutes, turn the grill burners back to the off position and reconnect the propane tank. Then restart your grill.

When lighting a gas grill, you should start by opening the propane tank valve. Then, turn on the one, specified burner that's used for lighting the grill. At that point, activate the grill ignitor switch or light the grill. After the first burner ignites, turn on the remaining burners. Reverse that process when shutting down your grill. When shutting down your grill, always turn off the burners then close the propane tank valve.