Ensure that the grill is clean after winter storage. Scrub the grill grates with oven cleaner and then wash in soapy water and rinse.
Set the grill in a well-ventilated area away from low-hanging tree limbs and bushes; a grease flareup could set trees and bushes on fire if they are too close. Also make sure that the grill is out of the way of children and pet play areas.
Use an approved charcoal lighter when lighting a charcoal grill. If possible use a charcoal chimney with newspaper; this requires less starter fluid than an open-kettle method. Never use gasoline, kerosene or diesel oil to ignite charcoal.
Have the proper utensils -- spatulas and tongs -- on hand to move the charcoal around to create hotter or cooler areas on the grill.
Remember the rule of "keep hot food hot and cold food cold." Use ice-filled coolers for the foods that need to be kept cold. Place coolers in a shaded area to protect them from the hot sun.
Defrost food before putting it on the grill. This makes it easier to cook the food evenly, so that one part isn't well done and another rare or undercooked.
Marinate all foods in covered containers in the refrigerator. If part of the marinade will later be used as a sauce, remove the necessary amount from the container before adding the raw meat.
Use a meat thermometer to test for meat doneness. Roasts and steaks should be cooked to at least 145 degrees F, or rare, before removing from the grill. Poultry should be cooked to an internal temperature of 180 degrees F. Hamburger or other patty meat should be cooked to at least 160 degrees F to ensure that bacteria are destroyed.
Cover cooked foods with foil or place in covered containers if they are going to sit awhile before serving. This will keep flies off the food.