4 Grilling Tips for Your Next Philly Barbecue

Warmer weather in Philadelphia means it’s time for picnics and barbecues. Planning to throw an outdoor party on your patio or in your yard? Here are some grilling tips about safety and menu planning that every Philly host should know.

Warmer weather in Philly means it’s time for picnics and barbecues. If one of your goals for the spring or summer is to host a party on your patio or in your yard, here are some grilling tips to keep in mind.

Know the Code

One of the most important things to think about when planning a backyard party is whether you can legally have a grill there. If you live in a multi-unit apartment building or condo, the Philadelphia Fire Code prohibits you from using a charcoal or propane grill on your deck or balcony. However, you can have a grill on your deck or patio if you live in a one- or two-family unit.

Play It Safe

If you plan on having activities at your barbecue, make sure the grill is far away from the area where people will be running around — you don’t want to risk having someone crash into it while chasing after a Frisbee. Keep pets and minors away from the grill, both when it’s in use and when it’s not. If there are any children at your party, make it clear to them that they aren’t allowed to touch the grill.

Proper attire is important, too. The Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management recommends not wearing loose or flowing clothing when grilling. Protect yourself from burns by wearing long mitts specifically designed for use over a charcoal or gas grill, and pick out grilling tools that have a long handle to keep your fingers as far away from the flames as possible.

Get Creative with the Menu

Now that you’ve set up your grill safely, it’s time to start cooking. Of course, meat is usually the main attraction of any barbecue, but it’s a good idea to offer your guests some variety. If you’re looking for ways to please vegetarian appetites, you can grill pretty much any vegetable, including asparagus, summer squash, and mushrooms. (Fruits grill well, too.) To grill corn on the cob, leave the corn in the husk and take it off the heat when the husks are dried and somewhat charred.

Want to experiment with something a bit more interesting? Try grilling halloumi cheese at your next picnic. Unlike other cheeses, halloumi holds its shape when heated, it develops char lines, and it has a squeaky texture. In Philadelphia, you can find it at places such as Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, or Essene Market in Queen Village.

Make Enough Food

Here’s one of the most important grilling tips ever: Be sure to make enough food for everyone. For example, if you’re cooking for a party of 25, it’s recommended that you make eight or nine pounds’ worth of hamburgers. If you make too much, you can always have leftovers or make up plates to give to guests as they leave — and it sure beats having to leave your own party to run out and buy more food.

Image Source: Flickr

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