With this Summer still threatening to arrive on our shores, and Jubilee weekend almost upon us, thoughts turn to eating and entertaining al fresco. What could be more British than a BBQ? This might be for a pub, club, village celebration or just inviting friends over. We thought we would share our top insights as you prepare for a safe and enjoyable BBQ season.
- Be Aware of Allergens – unfortunately food allergens are not killed by heat. If cooking food for someone who suffers from a food allergen, action will have to be taken to ensure their food is not contaminated from other dishes. Consider having a separate section of the grill, cooking the food in a clean pan on the grill, using separate utensils and ensuring that the grill is thoroughly cleaned before use
- Piping hot is the goal – ensure those foods that need to be cooked thoroughly, all the way through are served piping hot. This includes sausages, burgers and chicken. If you are a commercial food business, follow the same high standards you have within the kitchen
- Go with the flow – a safe kitchen operates by having a flow of food from raw to fully cooked and a BBQ is no different. Set up the area so there is storage for raw food, a clean area to handle cooked food and ensure that raw and cooked food never crosses. Think also about flow of food on the BBQ, placing raw food on one side of the grill and moving to the other side as it cooks. There should be separate utensils for handling the raw and cooked food
- Keeping hands clean outdoors– food handlers must be able to access hand wash facilities. A specialist hand wash unit is ideal, but may not always be possible. Reduce the risk by having separate people handling the raw and cooked food
- Nothing like a charcoal BBQ – for some, it simply has to be a charcoal BBQ which adds extra flavour to the food and smells fantastic when lit. However, they do need extra attention compared to a gas barbecue. Ensure that plenty of time is given to light the barbecue and for the charcoal to burn down to hot embers. If cooking for a long time, consider if the charcoal BBQ will retain heat long enough. It may mean having a second barbecue or one large enough that you can add charcoal whilst it is in use
- For others, it’s a gas – before using a gas barbecue, check the hose and connections are in good order and free from damage. Once connected, check the regulator and connections for leaks. Soapy water works well and will bubble if any gas is escaping!
- Watch out for those ashes – charcoal and ash will stay hot for many, many hours after the BBQ has been used. Ensure that ash is completely cold before disposing of it
- Too hot to handle – BBQs have lots of hot surfaces. Position the BBQ so that it does not present a burn hazard for others, thinking carefully about children who may not recognise the risk
- Late into the night – if operating into the evening, ensure that there is enough light to do so safely. Running cabling can present its own trip hazard. There are some great battery-operated flood lights that improve visibility and are safe in wet weather