Sometimes it’s easier to let things slide and make some mistakes because it’s outdoors and it seems much more open and informal. But the same kinds of problems can come up outside as can come up inside. And because of many of the types of cooking typically done outdoors, there are some unique problems that could crop up you need to be aware of.
One of the many hazards of cooking in an outdoor kitchen is the possibility of a grease fire. Grease fires happen inside too. But they seem far less expected outside and can often take a cook by surprise. No matter where you’re cooking if a grease fire starts, never ever throw water on the fire. Instinct tells you to get water to put out a fire, but adding water to a grease fire essentially turns it into a bomb that can cause a massive fire and can injure you, perhaps even causing death.
Because water is lighter weight than the grease that’s burning, the water gets beneath it and causes it to explode upwards. Many people have been disfigured and even killed by grease fire that exploded right in their faces. This is no less a hazard if it happens outdoors. Grease fires must be smothered. If a fire starts in a grill, simply close the lid and when the oxygen is cut off it will burn out. In a pan on a cook stove, put the lid on the pan then simply wait it out. Keep all liquid far away from any type of grease fire. These can happen in a grill as well as on an ordinary cook stove or in oven, so be aware.
One hazard that’s pretty specific to outdoor kitchens is an exploding gas cooker. This can happen when grease from the cooking food hits the gas tank and causes it to explode. One of the most common causes of this is deep frying chickens or turkeys in a gas powered fryer. Too much oil in the fryer means that when the bird is lowered in the oil it bubbles out over the top, drips down and causes an explosion. The safest thing is to simply avoid cooking this way if you’re unsure, but if you want deep fried poultry, be very careful.
To avoid a mishap of this kind, read the instructions carefully and measure precisely. Know the exact weight of the bird so you know how much oil it’s going to displace so that you can keep it at a safe level. Be very aware of cooking and fire safety when you’re using your outdoor kitchen so you can enjoy it for years without incident.
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