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Adapting the great American grill

Grilling on wheels

_FOOD / ADAPTING THE GREAT AMERICAN GRILL

Grilling is a great American pastime, enjoyed by families everywhere. With universal design now in the forefront of all parts of life, grilling from a wheelchair has become much more doable, requiring just a little forethought and planning! There are three key areas to think about when deciding to grill. First, where are you going to grill, what is the most accessible? Second, choosing the grill itself, which grill best complements your abilities and works best with your deficiencies. Finally, which tools work best to help you grill up that perfect hamburger or hot dog! Let’s dive in and get grilling on wheels!

THE GRILL

Before we can get that hamburger on the grill, we have to get the grill. This can be the most stressful and tedious part of the process. With the right attitude and support, this can be a fun process! Before you venture out to buy the grill, you need to do a short home assessment. Decide on what is the best path from inside your home to your patio.

Keys to successful grilling: The 3 best tips for grilling I can offer:

Start out slow! Cook a few hot dogs. This will allow you to familiarize yourself with the grill and discover what adaptations you need to make.

Reduce the number of trips back to the kitchen! Take everything you think you’ll need to the grill in one trip. This will cut down on burnt food and be one less thing to worry about.

My last tip and most important – HAVE FUN!

After that is determined, decide where you what to place the grill. This part is extremely important because that alone can help you decide the size of the grill to buy.

Now that you have determined where to place your grill, let’s look at which wheelchair you are going to grill from. You are probably thinking, huh?! Let me explain, if you’re like me you might have two different wheelchairs you use depending on the situation. For me, I have a manual wheelchair and a power wheelchair. Each of which serves its own purpose.

Once you decide which chair you are most comfortable in around a hot grill with flames sparking around, that’s the chair you need to take when you go shopping for a grill. Keep in mind, as a wheelchair user your face is closer to the grill’s surface. So, the chair will help you decide the height of the grill, depth of the grill surface, as well as the weight of the grill lid.

I don’t want to recommend a specific grill because everyone has different abilities and preferences. That said, I do recommend gas grills, because most, if not all, have a “push button” start. Also, there is a service called Propane Taxi that will deliver and connect gas tanks. They will also haul away the empty tank. No contract required and no contact delivery.

THE TOOLS

Now that you have your grill picked out, let’s look at some tools that will help make grilling safe and enjoyable. With the right tools, grilling will be more accessible and enjoyable. Here are some of my favorites

Heat resistant gloves With these gloves, your hands and forearms are protected from any heat from the grill surface as well as any flames that spark up. I use these to rotate hot dogs or baking potatoes. They are also handy if you accidentally touch the grill while repositioning your wheelchair or simply by being closer to the grill surface. SHOP
3-piece grill set This particular one comes with rubber handles that make gripping and holding easier. This set includes a grill spatula with a side “comb.” The side comb can be helpful if you have to pry off a burger that needs flipping but is stuck to the grill. This set also includes a grill fork. If you have trouble using a spatula, the grill fork can serve the purpose. Just stick the fork on the edge of whatever you’re cooking and flip it! The tongs can be helpful with rotating hot dogs or other round foods. SHOP
The grill basket The basket can also assist you in flipping food. Place the hamburger into the basket and close the lid. When it’s time to flip the burger, all you have to do is grab the basket handle and flip! SHOP
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