Ready to fire up the grill?
Hold your horses Jamie Oliver. Before you start flinging meat into the flames with wild abandon, safefood has issued a handy set of tips that every garden cook should read before getting stuck in.
If you haven’t used a barbecue yet this year, safefood recommend cleaning it by scrubbing the metal rack with a suitable oven cleaner or a damp brush dipped in bicarbonate of soda, and then rinsing it thoroughly afterwards with warm soapy water.
Otherwise, you risk giving yourself and anybody else at your barbecue a grim dose of food poisoning.
TV chef Donal Skehan advises; “Make sure not to scorch everything! If the heat is too high and you can’t control it, your food, meat especially, can be black on the outside but still raw on the inside.
“Leave the hot coals on one side or if you are using a gas barbecue, keep the heat low on one side. And remember foods like burgers, chicken and sausages need to be cooked well done, all the way through.”
Here are safefood’s 7 top tips for a safe barbecue
- Keep perishable foods like salads, coleslaw and quiche in your fridge until you are about to serve them.
- Burgers, sausages and kebabs, pork and poultry must be cooked all the way through – but steaks can be served ‘rare’ as harmful bacteria are on the outside only (and not in the centre).
- If you like to marinate your meat, make sure any marinade used on raw meat is not then used as a sauce to coat vegetables or cooked meat as it will contain raw meat bacteria.
- If you choose to barbecue any frozen food, it must first be completely thawed on the bottom shelf of your fridge before you cook it.
- When handling raw meat and poultry, wash your hands thoroughly and frequently, most importantly before going on to prepare salads and other ready to eat foods.
- Once your meat is cooked thoroughly, make sure to keep cooked meat separate from raw meat and to use separate chopping boards, cooking utensils and plates. Harmful bacteria in raw meat, poultry and their juices can cross-contaminate cooked food and lead to food poisoning, something your family won’t thank you for.
- If there are leftovers from your barbeque, allow the food to cool before refrigerating, however, make sure to refrigerate food within two hours of cooking. Always remember that with leftovers – if in doubt, throw it out.