Outdoor cooking requires the same good habits and hygiene principles that you would use in a kitchen. If you want your guests to remember you and your BBQ party, you must follow the health and safety principles around BBQ and food. Unfortunately, many people do not follow hygiene and standard cooking practices for their BBQ. This not only wastes a lot of food, but also endangers the health of guests. This article presents important considerations regarding health and safety around barbecued food, so your BBQ party remains enriched and memorable in every sense.
- The most important consideration is to make sure that your BBQ equipment, such as a grill, is properly cleaned and washed. Before using a grill, clean it first by rubbing it with metal rack and a damp brush dipped in bicarbonate soda. Once this is done, wash the grill thoroughly with warm, soapy water.
- Having a BBQ is usually an outdoor activity, and the outdoors are most definitely filled with germs. Germs have a greater tendency to cause damage outdoors when it comes to food because it does not stay refrigerated. Keep perishable foods like quiche, salads, and coleslaw in the fridge until you need to serve it.
- Before cooking frozen food, make sure that it is thawed completely. Items that need to be served chilled, like sodas and some salads, must be placed in a fridge. Usually, the following foods should remain cool:
- milk, cream, & yogurt
- desserts and cream cake sandwiches
- ham and other cooked meats
- cooked rice
- If you doing a charcoal-based BBQ, then light it earlier, at least 30 minutes before cooking, so that flames remain under control.
- Always wash your hands before handling the BBQ meat or any other ingredients. The raw and cooked foods should be placed in separate trays. Even when cooking, the pots and skillets used for putting in cooked food should not be used for cooking raw meat, unless you wash them first. Keep the food covered when outdoors because lots of bugs and insects may spoil the food if left open.
- Make sure that the BBQ meat is cooked completely. Whether you are cooking BBQ pork, poultry, or minced meats like sausages, kebabs, and ribs, always cook them well, both from outside to inside. The indication of well-cooked meat is that the color turns pink and the juices run clear. If you don’t have enough time to cook meat at the BBQ party, you can pre-cook the meat in your kitchen’s oven halfway before cooking it on the BBQ grill.
- When barbecuing, keep rotating the meat so that all sides are cooked properly. Once cooked, place the meat on serving plates and then cut into pieces. While cutting, make sure the center of the meat is smoking hot, it doesn’t have a pink color, and the juices run transparent. A meat thermometer can facilitate your guesswork. Here are the correct temperatures for common barbecue foods:
- Chicken and turkey thighs, wings, legs and breasts: 74 °C (165.2 °F)
- Minced meat, sausages: 71 °C (159.8 °F)
- Fish: 63 °C (145.4 °F)
- Don’t use raw meat marinade for coating other meats or vegetables, since raw meat marinade usually contains bacteria. Instead, you can use this marinade as a sauce after cooking it in a sauce pan and boiling it.
- If you have BBQ leftovers, never leave them open as animals, insects, and the sun can spoil them. Before refrigerating BBQ food, cover it with aluminum foil. You can use the BBQ meat for up to three days.
Child Safety at a BBQ Party
If your BBQ party has “tiny” guests, you need to take extra care of them appropriately. The following are some basic tips to ensure their safety around a BBQ setting.
- Have constant supervision on children around a BBQ. If you are stuck working, ask someone to take responsibility.
- Don’t allow young children or babies to come near the BBQ cook site.
- Place the BBQ cooking spot in an area where children don’t have to go through.
- Set up the BBQ in a way where you can talk with them without having them come close to the grill.
- Never park a stroller close to a BBQ, as children can move fast and they may roll, or be rolled too close to the BBQ within seconds.
- Don’t use a baby walker as it may obstruct their walking while placing babies at a higher risk of head injuries, burns, falls, scalds, and poisonings.
The Proper BBQ Handling Tips
Remember that coals remain quite hot long after the red glow has faded. Barbecues have been linked to campsite deaths caused by carbon monoxide poisoning. If you’re planning on using a barbecue, whether it’s a disposable one, gas, or charcoal, make sure you keep yourself safe and don’t put yourself at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Never light a barbecue in a closed space.
- Prepare the barbecue early to confirm it is at the right temperature, by the time you want to cook.
- Take special care in hot, dry weather to decrease the risk of starting a forest or grass fire.
- Never pour petrol or other accelerants on a barbecue. Some of the most severe barbecue-related accidents occur when people do this and the barbecue exploded in their face.
- Use long-handled tools.
- Be careful of the steam when opening foil parcels.
- Remember that the metal parts of a barbecue become hot – don’t try to move it until everything cools down.
- Make sure the barbecue is completely extinguished before you leave it.
- Take care when getting rid of a disposable barbecue, or barbecue coals – ensure they are cold before placing them in a bin.
If you are not feeling well (symptoms might include diarrhea, sore throat with fever, vomiting, fever, jaundice, or a transferrable skin condition), avoid handling food and consider postponing your barbecue. Then, when you are feeling well, you can have a BBQ to remember.