Barbecues are one of the great pleasures of summer, with the unmistakable aroma of hot coals and outdoor cooking always seeming to accompany the hottest days of the year. However, there are two major risks associated with barbecues that we should all be aware of — food poisoning and fire. We want to help make sure your barbecue is safe as well as fun, so here are some pointers to help you avoid both.
Preventing food poisoning
- Defrost meat in the fridge — make sure it's completely defrosted before you start cooking.
- Light the barbecue well in advance to allow time for it to heat up.
- The coals should be glowing red before you start to cook.
- Pre-cook chicken in the oven before finishing it off on the barbecue.
- Make sure you wash your hands regularly, especially if you're handling both raw and cooked food.
- Eat the food as soon as it's ready.
Keeping blazes confined to the barbecue
Summer is the worst season for fire claims, with dry weather and barbecues contributing to household blazes.
- Choose a sheltered site for your barbecue and keep it away from fences, plants or anything else that could catch fire.
- Make sure children and pets stay out of the way.
- Only use lighter fuel specifically designed for barbecues and don't add any more once you've got the fire going.
- Keep a fire extinguisher to hand, or a bucket of water or sand. Don't wear loose clothing that might catch light
- Wear oven gloves and use long-handled utensils.
- Once you've finished, extinguish the fire before leaving it and make sure the coals and ashes are completely cold before you dispose of them.
- Put ashes on your garden or compost heap, not in with your normal rubbish.