Barbecues are fun. Food poisoning isn’t.
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Here are six tips for a top barbecue
We all want to serve up a sensational barbecue that also helps keep our family and friends safe. And it’s great to look spontaneous, but it’s safer and easier on the day if you prepare in advance.
You can help avoid the build-up of food poisoning bugs by taking the following simple steps.
- Pre-cook, it’s a very good idea to cook all chicken (including chicken on the bone) in the oven prior to giving it a final ‘finish’ on your barbecue. Your friends and family will still experience that special barbecue ‘scorched’ 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, as you’ll want to avoid providing undercooked food.
- Charred doesn’t mean cooked, cook your barbecue food thoroughly until you
are sure that your poultry, pork, burgers, sausages and kebabs are steaming hot,
with no pink meat inside. Turning meat regularly and moving it around the
barbecue will help to cook it evenly.
Charred on the outside doesn’t always mean cooked on the inside so, it’s always
safer to cut open and check your burgers, sausages and chicken.
If in doubt – keep cooking.
- Disposable BBQs take longer to heat up and to cook food. Always check that
your meat is cooked right through before serving.
- 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 handling
your food for the barbecue and after handling raw foods including meat, fish, eggs and vegetables. (You should of course wash your hands after touching the bin, going to the toilet, blowing your nose, or touching pets.)
- Don’t wash raw chicken or other meat, it just splashes germs. Cooking will kill any bacteria present, including campylobacter. On the other hand, washing chicken, or other meat, can spread dangerous bugs on to your hands, clothes, utensils and worktops by splashing.
- Keep plates and cutlery away from raw meat and fish, never serve your guests cooked food on a plate or surface that’s had raw meat or fish on it, and don’t use cutlery or marinades that have been in contact with raw meat. There’s no point in serving up food with a flourish if you’re adding bugs back into the mix.
Watch the Food Standards Agency Videos
- Have a sizzling and safe barbecue (full version) - Video
- Have a sizzling, and safe barbecue (Part 1): tongs and other utensils - Video
- Have a sizzling, and safe barbecue (part 2): handle raw meat carefully and pre-cook it - Video
- Have a sizzling, and safe barbecue (part 3): cook meat thoroughly - Video