There’s nothing quite like the smell, or taste of food that’s been cooked outdoors, but unfortunately cases of food poisoningdouble over the summer months, and barbecues are often to blame. Here are my ten top tips to enjoying a barbecue and avoiding a nasty stomach upset:
1) Make sure frozen meat is thoroughly thawed before you cook it!
2) Keep cooked and raw meat completely separate. Do not put cooked meat on a plate that has been used for raw meat, and don’t let raw meat touch cooked meat on the barbecue that is about to be eaten.
3) Use separate utensils (tongs, knives, cutlery) for raw and cooked food.
4) Keep raw meat well away from salads. Clean boards and surfaces thoroughly after preparing raw meat, especially if they are going to be used for preparing salad.
5) Don’t put sauce or marinade on cooked food if its been used with raw meat.
6) Allow time for the barbecue to heat up before you start cooking. The coals should be glowing red, with a powdery grey film on the surface.
7) Turn meat regularly, and move it around so that it cooks evenly, avoid hotspots on the barbecue surface.
8) Some meats, such as cuts of lamb or beef, are safe to be eaten rare as long as the outside has been properly cooked, as this kills off any bacteria that might be on the outside of the meat.
9) Chicken, and food made from minced meat (for example burgers or sausages) must be cooked thoroughly all the way through. There should be no pink meat, and juices should run clear. It is often safer to bake them first in the oven and then finish them off on the barbecue.
10) Only get salads out of the fridge when the food from the barbecue is ready, and even then keep them as cool as possible, out of the sun, especially if they have sauces or dressings that contain cream or mayonnaise.