We’re having a glorious bank holiday weekend and lots of us will be dusting off the barbecue in preparation for lots of alfresco dining in the sunshine. But how many of us give a thought to barbecue safety?
We all know the risks of undercooked chicken and ‘black and white’ sausages (burned on the outside and completely raw on the inside!), but it’s very easy to throw caution to the wind after a beer or two and forget our food hygiene basics.
Here are some helpful reminders from Michelin Star Chef Steve Smith who runs the Bohemia Restaurant at The Club Hotel & Spa in Jersey.
Since Bohemia is the only restaurant in the Channel Islands to be listed in The Sunday Times Top 100 Restaurants and is ranked at number 49, I think it’s worth paying attention.
It may seem obvious but if you want to avoid any disasters then you need to make sure the barbecue is lit properly and is not in the proximity of anything that is potentially flammable!
Make sure that any poultry or pork items are thoroughly cooked to avoid food poisoning. To know if you have the right temperature to cook with you just need to wait for the flames to die down, and check the colour of the coals. They should glow red underneath and be white on the top. It is also worth investing in a barbecue thermometer. Check out the Carnivore Style website and learn healthy tips for meat-lovers too.
Generally, any type of fish, lamb or beef are the safest items to cook for those concerned about becoming ill at a barbecue, as they are low-risk meats. You can cook them rare, medium, well done or as you would normally. Also, you should always use separate utensils for cooking and serving.
Any pork and chicken items are the highest risk food generally cooked on the barbecue and you need to check that they are thoroughly cooked. Make sure they are consumed immediately. If you leave them outside on a nice day for more than 30 minutes you are running a risk of giving someone food poisoning! Also try not to serve any form of rice salad, as it will likely spend the entire day sat out in warm conditions. You can find some great summery salad suggestions in this post.
Barbecues are not just about meat, any type of vegetable kebabs are great! Be bold and use vegetables such as onions, peppers, aubergines, and kohlrabi.
Many people think that leftovers can be used the following day. This is generally a no-no. Cook only what you need for the barbecue or you will just have to eat it all!
How many of these no-no’s have you done? I’m guilty of at least two!
From a general safety point of view, remember that children, pets and barbecues don’t mix and make sure you keep your babies, furry or otherwise well away from anything hot.
Let’s hope for another sunny weekend and if you do decide to dine alfresco, remember your barbecue safety so everyone stays happy, healthy and ready for the next weekend’s barbecue.