Memorial Day Weekend is here, awakening grillers from their seasonal slumber. Rise up, my brethren—it’s time to clean your grills, haul your charcoal briquettes out of storage, and make your way to a local park to grill up some choice weenies. Public grilling is a delight, but it’s important to keep manners in mind as you fire up the coals. Do yourself a favor: take note of these grilling etiquette tips before you get banned from the park for life.
Don’t: Smoke out your neighbors
Place too much fat and grease on an extremely hot grill, and you’re left with a grease fire and plumes of billowing smoke. Excess smoke can also result from cooking on a dirty grill. Either way, you don’t want to be the person that sends park-goers running from a cloud of ash.
If you’re worried about a smoky grill, try to orient yourself near the edge of the park where you’ll have some space to grill. Otherwise, just keep a close eye on your grill and make sure to address any grease issues sooner rather than later.
Don’t: Dump hot charcoal
You’ve grilled your weenies and eaten your last slice of watermelon. It’s time to head home, so you toss your charcoal in a nearby trash can. The can BURSTS INTO FLAMES, which quickly ENGULF THE ENTIRE PICNIC AREA and THREATEN THE LIVES OF DOZENS.
Quick: What did you do wrong? That’s right, friends—you ignored proper charcoal disposal practices. Some parks offer designated charcoal disposal containers, which are sturdier than standard trash cans. But if you’re grilling in a more remote area, make sure to bring your own metal bucket to haul your coals home. You’ll also want to bring a jug of water to douse the coals, which will help them cool quicker. Whatever you do, don’t leave hot coals on the ground.
Don’t: Monopolize public grills
Public grills are great, provided you give them a good scrubbing first. But if you’re heading to the park on a holiday like Memorial Day, chances are the grills will be in high demand. Get in, do your grilling, and get out.
Do: Clean up after yourself
If you’re using a public grill, a quick cleaning goes a long way in preparing the grill for the next user. While the grates are still hot, give them a quick scrape to remove any spare food bits. You’ll also want to see if the park requires you to remove the ashes from the grill before moving on—some require this, some don’t. Finally, throw away your trash and do your best to leave the surrounding area exactly as you found it.