How to stay food safe when cooking food at a barbecue
Food poisoning can be avoided by following good food hygiene practices, such as washing your hands, cooking meat properly, and avoiding cross-contamination.
Follow these tips to stay food safe when barbecuing:
- Wash your hands and clean your utensils and surfaces before starting
- Clean your BBQ down
- Keep food covered and chilled until you are ready to cook on the BBQ
- Plan ahead and defrost any frozen food overnight in the fridge.
Safe practices – avoiding cross-contamination
- Store raw meat separately from ready-to-eat foods
- Use different utensils (tongs, spoons etc), plates and chopping boards for raw and cooked food and ready-to-eat foods such as salads, coleslaw etc
- Wash your hands after touching raw meat and before you handle ready-to-eat food
- Safe cooking
- If cooking on a charcoal BBQ, make sure the coals are hot enough before you start cooking. They should be glowing red with a grey, powdery surface.
- Cook meat in the oven first and then finish off on BBQ to save time and ensure it is fully cooked
- Turn your meat regularly on the grill and move it around to make sure it’s evenly cooked on all sides.
- Try and keep raw meat away from cooked meat on the grill.
Before serving chicken, pork, sausages and burgers that you’ve cooked on the barbecue, always check that:
- The meat is steaming hot throughout
- There is no pink meat visible when you cut into the thickest part
- Meat juices run clear.
- Cover and cool cooked foods quickly at room temperature and place in a fridge or cool bag within 2hrs.
- You should look to consume the leftovers from your barbecue within 48 hours.
- If you’re reheating anything, only reheat it once and make sure it’s steaming hot before serving.
For further information see the Food Standard Agency’s useful page on BBQ Food Safety.