With more time spent at home and new ways of socialising, the barbecue season has kicked off earlier than usual this year.
As cooking outdoors is a favourite, whenever the weather allows, it’s important our good food safety habits don’t go up in smoke once the barbecue is lit.
safefood has some practical tips to help keep your barbecuing trouble-free this summer.
BEFORE YOU GET STARTED
If this is your first time barbecuing this year, give your grill a good clean. You can scrub the metal rack with an oven cleaner or a damp brush dipped in baking soda. Rinse it well with HOT, SOAPY WATER AFTERWARDS.
KEEP COLD FOODS COLD
Food is out of your fridge for longer when you are cooking and eating outdoors. This can lead to harmful bacteria multiplying quickly. So keep perishable foods like salads, coleslaw, and quiche in the fridge until you need them.
BEFORE YOU START COOKING
- Make sure any frozen foods are fully thawed before you start cooking them. The best way to do this is to take them out of the freezer the night before and defrost them on the bottom shelf of the fridge
- Keep foods you plan to cook properly chilled in the fridge or a cool box until you need it.
- Light your barbecue well in advance. For charcoal barbecues, the flames should have died down before you start cooking.
IT’S IN YOUR HANDS
- 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 use separate chopping boards, cooking utensils and plates. Harmful bacteria in raw meat, poultry and their juices can cross-contaminate cooked food and can make you and your family sick.
COOK IT WELL DONE
The big issue when barbecuing is making sure your food has been cooked thoroughly, all the way through. safefood recommends that meats such as burgers, sausages, pork and poultry should be cooked until they are piping hot all the way through, with no pink meat remaining and the juices run clear.
Turn all food regularly and move it around the grill to ensure it is cooked evenly on all sides. If you have a meat thermometer you can check the meat is safe to eat by inserting a clean thermometer probe into the thickest part of the meat or poultry and checking the temperature at has reached 75ºC.
Steaks or whole meat joints of beef or lamb can be served rare as harmful bacteria are on the outside only and not in the centre.
DON’T MIX MARINADES
Make sure any marinade used on raw meat is not then used as a sauce to coat vegetables or cooked meat. It will contain raw meat bacteria! If you want to use marinade as a sauce, cook it in a saucepan and bring it to a rolling boil before serving it.
If there are leftovers from your barbecue, cover them and 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
For more information on food safety, visit www.safefood.net