Thrill of the Grill

When Memorial Day rolls around, it's time to haul out the grill and get fired up for outdoor cooking. Use this checklist to make sure you're hot to trot:

INSPECT ALL GAS-GRILL HOSES and connectors for leaks. Brush soapy water over lines and turn on tank valve; if you see rising or enlarged bubbles, your grill has a leak. Replace defective parts immediately.

SITUATE YOUR GRILL away from the house, trees and fences. Stand in front of the grill and imagine the towering Inferno: Will everything nearby survive? If so, you've chosen the right spot.

PLACE BAKING SODA CLOSE BY to extinguish grease fires, plus a fire extinguisher and water or sand for charcoal or wood fires.

EQUIP YOUR GRILL WITH LONG-HANDLED BARBECUE TOOLS. Tongs or spatulas are best; a fork may work, but it pierces meat, causing flavorful juices to escape.

COMPLETELY DEFROST MEAT before grilling. Recently-refrigerated foods won't cook evenly.

APPLY COOKING SPRAY to a cold grill for low-fat meats and fish. Use a grilling basket for cut-up veggies and fruits.

­Elisa Bosley