Barbecues are fun. Food poisoning isn’t.
Did you know that 33% of people worry about food hygiene at barbecues, and 19% admit to eating a rare burger – that’s a big no no if you’re looking to avoid food poisoning this summer. A rare or poorly cooked burger is three times more likely to contain harmful bacteria, including E-Coli.
If you want to keep your summer bbq fun and food poisoning free, follow these top bbq tips from the Food Standards Agency:
- Pre-cook. Consider cooking all chicken and pork in the oven prior to giving it a final ‘finish’ on your barbecue where possible. Your friends and family will still experience that special barbecue ‘chargrilled’ taste – and you will know that you’ve cooked the chicken all the way through. This technique can also be used for sausages, burgers and kebabs if you’re cooking for large numbers.
- Charred on the outside doesn’t always mean cooked on the inside. Cut open and check your burgers, sausages and chicken. Turning meat regularly and moving it around on the barbecue will also help to cook it evenly. If in doubt, keep cooking. Remember that most types of meat are safe to eat only when:
- the meat is steaming hot throughout
- there is no pink meat visible when you cut into the thickest part
- any juices run clear
- Avoid cross-contamination by storing raw meat separately before cooking. Use different utensils, plates and chopping boards for raw and cooked food. Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water and dry them before and after handling food.
- Keep plates and cutlery away from raw meat and fish. And never reuse a marinade used on raw meat, unless you give it a thorough cook first. You’ll only be serving up bugs along with that extra flavour to your guests!
- Keep cold foods below 5°C and hot foods above 63°C. You also shouldn’t leave food that you would store refrigerated standing around in the warm, before serving.
- Make sure your bbq is ready to cook on. The coals should be glowing red hot and have a powdery grey or white surface. If they’re still black, it’s not hot enough to properly cook meat safely. Remember, disposable barbecues take longer to heat up and to cook food. Don’t overload the barbecue and always check that your meat is cooked thoroughly.