Outdoor cooking has become a fresh idea again. Lots of restaurants have had to move their dining facilities outside to accommodate COVID concerns. Many restaurants have been discovering the joys and headaches of serving people outside. It is easy to do on a nice day. Add cold and rain into the mix, and you have a recipe for disaster. The solution is expensive. Big restaurants have adopted tent-like structures with integrated heating. The entire system still has to have access to open air for safety. But the heaters have to run hot and constantly to fight the chill of the air. It is not without a hint of danger.
The threat of fire is real and present. Do you know what to do if your building catches fire? What about the outdoor space where you are cooking or eating? Fire safety is one of the big reasons why smaller restaurants are having a hard time setting up appropriate facilities. When you add outdoor cooking to the mix, you have a situation that is even more fraught. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. It just means that you have to do it with safety built into the process. Here are a few things to consider:
When setting up your U shaped outdoor kitchen, the first detail you should consider is the components of that kitchen. Will you be using a gas, charcoal, or electric grill? You have to be as concerned about fire with an outdoor setup as you do an inside setup. Some people just love the ritual that involves charcoal, lighter fluid, and a long match to get it all started. Others find a gas grill much safer, and something with an electric start even more safe. The key is to start with safety and figure out flavor later. You can always make food more flavorful. Adding safety after the fact is a lot harder.
The physical arrangement of the kitchen might also contribute to safety. A cramped space is likely going to be less safe than a larger space where there is room to spread out. A larger space will also make it safer for more than one person to be in the kitchen at the same time. When too many people are in too small of a space, accidents happen. To reduce the chances of fire, start with quality equipment chosen for the setting in which it will be used.
A lot of people have a fire extinguisher inside the house. But do you have one outside as well? If you have an outside fire that blocks your entry to the house, you are in trouble. This is one of the most important safety tips that people forget when it comes to outdoor cooking.
A lot of outdoor fires start because people don’t build campfires the right way. But even those fires could be stopped before they become news with the simple expediency of having a fire extinguisher near to hand. When cooking outdoors, your fire extinguisher needs to always be near to hand. You should not consider it safe to start the heat until you have the fire extinguisher nearby.
Cooking outdoors means giving insects more access to you and your food. Some insects carry disease. Some cause allergic reactions. And you never want to accidentally bite into one. That is the kind of thing that can easily put you off your lunch.
While nothing will completely eliminate pests, you should have your pest control service spray outside. They have chemicals that can greatly reduce pests. You can also use bug zappers and those torches that have insect repellent in them. These measures can help. What you don’t want to do is use any type of aerosol around your cooking area. It might kill the bugs. But it will also ruin your food and endanger your guests. It might seem like a small problem. But for a mostly insect-free outdoor cooking and dining experience, you should call in the professionals. It doesn’t cost as much as you think, and will help more than you think.
To enjoy your outdoor cooking experiences, start with safety. Only use quality products installed by professionals. Keep the fire extinguisher near to hand. And let the professionals deal with the insects before you set up your kitchen.