BBQ Hygiene Tips from Biomaster
It’s said that cases of food poisoning usually double during the summer, with poor hygiene practiced at barbecues one of the main culprits.
The most common causes of food poisoning can be traced back to the bacteria found in raw meat, so handling and cooking your food properly is key to avoid becoming ill.
As well as protecting your guests from a dodgy burger, there are many other ways of reducing potentially harmful bacteria spreading around your barbecue.
Read on for 10 tips from Biomaster for safer BBQ cooking this summer:
1. Wash your hands
Your hands are one of the most common transmitters of bacteria so maintaining a good level of personal hygiene is key to reducing the risk of infections spreading. Make sure you wash your hands before and after preparing food and especially after handling raw meat or poultry.
2. Keep your grill clean
Your once shiny BBQ grill probably spends most of the year tucked away in the garden shed, so make sure you give the grill a good clean before use. Studies have shown that dirty grills can be contaminated with Listeria, Salmonella and E. coli which can all cause serious infections.
3. Use separate equipment for different food
Make sure that you use separate tools, utensils and boards for raw meat, poultry, vegetables and cooked meat to stop any cross contamination. Remember to thoroughly clean and disinfect all equipment used too.
4. Don’t wash raw chicken
Washing chicken under the tap will just spread bacteria like Campylobacter around the kitchen, so instead focus on cooking the meat properly which will kill any bacteria present.
5. Thaw frozen food before cooking
Make sure you defrost food thoroughly, on a covered plate in the fridge overnight, before cooking on the barbecue. If you don’t there’s a chance that the outside of the food will be cooked and the inside undercooked or even still partially frozen.
6. Pre-cook and finish off on the grill
Whilst you don’t want to lose out on the special charcoal taste, it’s even more important to make sure that all your food is cooked correctly. Things like chicken on the bone or sausages can be pre-cooked in the oven before finishing off on the grill for that classic BBQ flavour.
7. Cook at the right temperature
Patience is key with a good barbecue, so make sure that you start cooking when the coals are ready. This means that the flames have died down and the coals are red hot with a light ash coating. Cooking at too high a temperature will mean that the outside might char or burn leaving the inside undercooked.
8. Invest in a food thermometer
The ideal way of making sure that your food is cooked properly is by inserting a food thermometer into the thickest part of the meat. Once a steady reading of 75°C is achieved then you know your food is safe to eat. ETI's Thermapen range is perfect for BBQ cooking.
9. Keep cooked meat separate
Once your food is taken off the BBQ it should be served up separately to any raw meat or food that has not yet been cooked. Bacteria can start to breed as soon as food starts to lose its temperature, so make sure to eat as soon as possible.
10. Don’t reuse marinade
As tempting as it may be to use that delicious marinade as a dipping sauce, it may be contaminated with harmful bacteria so it’s advisable to discard of it and not to re-use it.