Socializing with friends and family while enjoying Nyama Choma, juicy sausages, and burgers is one of the best ways to enjoy life. But sometimes, these gatherings can be unsafe thanks to poor food handling practices. When you fire-up the grill, keep these barbecue safety tips in mind to ensure you and your guests stay safe and healthy.
To make the most of your barbecue, here are some top food safety tips from safefood.
Before you get grilling
if this is your first time barbecuing this year, give your barbecue grill a thorough clean by scrubbing the metal rack with a suitable oven cleaner or a damp brush dipped in bicarbonate of soda. And remember to rinse it thoroughly with warm, soapy water afterwards
Keep your cool
Food is away from your fridge for a longer period of time when cooking and eating outdoors which can lead to germs multiplying quickly. Keep perishable foods like salads, coleslaw and quiche in your fridge until you need them.
Before you start cooking
- Make sure frozen foods are fully thawed (preferably in the fridge on the bottom shelf; which may take overnight) before you start cooking them.
- Keep foods you plan to cook properly chilled in the fridge or a cool box until needed.
- Light your barbecue well in advance – for charcoal barbecues, the flames should have died down before you start cooking.
It’s in your hands
- Wash your hands before and after handling food.
- Remember to keep raw meat separate from cooked meat and ready-to-eat foods like salads.
- Always use separate utensils for handling raw and cooked meat when cooking.
- Never put cooked food on a dish that has been used for raw meat or poultry (unless it’s been thoroughly washed in between)
- Keep food covered whenever possible.
How to know it’s cooked
For meats that need to be cooked all the way through be sure to cut into the centre of them to check that:
- They are piping hot all the way through
- There is no pink meat left and
- The juices run clear
Steaks or whole meat joints of beef or lamb can be served rare as long as they are cooked on the outside as any harmful bacteria will be on the outside only, and not in the centre.
Mind the marinade
If you use marinade with your barbeque, make sure any marinade used on raw meat is not then used as a sauce to coat vegetables or cooked meat as it will contain raw meat bacteria! If you want to use marinade as a sauce, be sure to cook it in a saucepan and bring it to a rolling boil before serving it.
If you have any leftovers from your barbeque, these should not be left outside where they could be in the sun and where insects and animals could get at them. As with all leftovers, cover these foods and allow them to cool down in a cool place (your kitchen) before refrigerating within two hours of cooking and use within three days.