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'Safety first' best recipe for great grilling season

Families across the nation enjoy grilling with clean, American propane.
June 18, 2014 - Grilling is one of America's favorite pastimes and a popular summer activity in backyards across the country.

More than 60 percent of American households will cook kabobs, fresh vegetables and, of course, meat on propane grills this summer, according to the Propane Education & Research Council, or PERC. PERC is an energy check-off program dedicated to safety and training for the propane industry.

"Summer is a time to enjoy the outdoors with family and friends," PERC President and CEO Roy Willis stated in a news release. "And with the onset of warm weather, it's also a good time to review outdoor safety tips, including safe grilling techniques."

Willis offers families some simple reminders for preparing and maintaining safe cooking conditions while using propane grills.

Before using the grill, he recommends reviewing and following all grill manufacturers' instructions.

"If you buy a propane-powered grill and assemble it yourself, follow the manufacturer's instructions to the letter," Willis stated. "Better yet, have the grill assembled before you bring it home. If you're planning a more elaborate outdoor kitchen, be sure to get in touch with your nearest propane professional for tips on products and access to qualified installers."

Next, the location of the grill is an important consideration. PERC reminds families that the only safe location for any grill — including propane cooking units — is outside in a well-ventilated area and a safe distance from the home.

"Grills should never be placed in a confined area," Willis stated. "Make sure your grill is at least 5 feet from your house on a level surface away from siding, outdoor furniture or anything else that could be a fire hazard. It's something that you don't always think about when you're grilling, but it's a basic safety measure that's easy to implement."

Whether the grill is equipped with an automatic ignition or needs to be lit manually, the manufacturer's instructions should be followed precisely.

"Always use caution when lighting the grill and never stray from the grill manufacturer's instructions," Willis stated. "If the flames go out for any reason, turn the grill and gas off and wait 15 minutes before relighting it."

PERC also encourages families to keep the top open when lighting the grill. This allows for ventilation and ensures that propane vapors are not being released into the confined grilling area.

Finally, proper storage of propane cylinders is an essential safety step when using propane-powered grills.

"Be sure to store propane cylinders upright and outdoors, and keep cleaning fluids, oil-soaked rags, gasoline or other flammable material away from cooking areas and gas appliances," Willis stated. "Removing combustible materials from any heat source is always a good idea

"Grilling is an enjoyable way to prepare food and celebrate warm weather," he added. "Enjoying warm weather throughout the summer can be easy with safe, efficient propane grills."

Growing up in Cajun country in southern Louisiana, Willis learned to appreciate good food, and decided to share one of his favorite grilling recipes.

"On the bayous, seafood was a part of our culture, so putting a Louisiana twist on grilling comes naturally for me," he explained explained. "But enough about me; grilling is the main topic here, and of course propane is the main ingredient. So let's get cooking."

Grilled New Orleans–Style Shrimp

1 1⁄2 pounds large shrimp

2 tbsp olive oil

3 medium garlic cloves, minced

6 tbsp unsalted butter

2 tsp chili powder

2 tsp black pepper

4 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

3⁄4 tsp salt

Toss shrimp with oil, garlic and 1⁄2 teaspoon salt and marinate at cool room temperature for 15 minutes.

While shrimp marinate, prepare grill for cooking. If using a propane grill, light the grill according to the manufacturer's instructions. Remember to keep the top open. Once the grill is lit, the lid can be closed to preheat burners. Preheat the grill for 10 minutes, and then reduce heat to moderately high.

Heat butter, chili powder, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and remaining 1⁄4 teaspoon salt in saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring, until butter is melted. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.

Thread shrimp onto a skewer and grill, turning over once, until just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes total. Push shrimp off skewers into a bowl, then pour butter mixture over them and toss to combine well.

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