Dedicated to Improving the Lives of Blind and Visually Impaired People

Tips for Grilling Outdoors This Summer

by Jaime Rodriguez, RDPFS Intern

For many people, summer is a time to cook outdoors. While grilling involves cooking at high temperatures, there are plenty of precautions you can take to ensure safety if you or a family member are blind or have low vision. To start off, evaluate the area in which you intend to grill. It is important to place your grill at an appropriate distance from the exterior of any buildings and positioned in an area without any overhanging structures or tree branches. Choose a specific model of grill that would best meet your needs. There are three major types of grills: electric, which come in both indoor and outdoor models; gas/propane grills, which are also user friendly; and charcoal, which are more challenging to use as they require cooking over flames. Electric grills and gas/propane grills are the easiest models to use if you or a family member is blind or visually impaired. They are generally controlled by easy-to-turn knobs, so with proper marking of knob temperatures and some practice, they are easy to master. Charcoal grills are more difficult to use, though not impossible. With practice, it becomes easier to manage temperature control. When grilling, it is important to memorize the setup of the grill’s heating surface and ensure that you have any adaptive equipment you may need. Essential items for grilling include a long-handled spatula or double-spatula turner, super oven gloves, an adjustable slicing knife with a guard, a low vision cutting board, a talking digital cooking thermometer, and a talking timer. These items will help you to grill safely and successfully, resulting in a delicious meal of grilled foods. For more information, please check out the Wisconsin Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired article, titled, “Strategies for Success when Grilling with a Visual Impairment.”