Michael van Straten
Michael van Straten
australiaphen375.com

Bank Holiday BBQ

I have written before about safe BBQs but food poisoning is common during the summer months, so here are a few extra tips to keep you, your friends and family safe.

The Bug Free BBQ

Clean hands, clean utensils, a clean grill and different plates, utensils and chopping boards to separate raw and cooked foods are essential. The most vital piece of equipment is a meat thermometer and few people I know actually own one, and even those that do seldom use them. But this is the key to killing off the deadly bugs.

Don't serve meat to your friends and family until you've checked the temperature at it's centre and it has reached 145 degrees F for roasts, steaks and chops of beef, veal or lamb if you want them medium rare, and 160 degrees F for medium. All pork should reach at least 160 degrees, chicken breasts or drumsticks 180 degrees, chicken or turkey burgers 165 degrees, and beef burgers 160 degrees.

The E.coli bacteria is exceptionally dangerous and most frequently occurs in burgers - there was a recent scare in France about this bacteria in German imports - if you're at somebody else's cook-out never let your kids eat burgers without breaking them open to make sure there is not the slightest trace of pink - but even this is not as 100 percent safe as using the thermometer.

It's fine to eat undercooked steak or roasts as the E.coli is on the outside of the meat and is killed by the cooking temperature. Once you mince the beef the bacteria is spread throughout the finished product which is why all burgers must be cooked right through.

I've tried a variety of thermometers and my favourite - coincidentally one of the cheapest - is The Master Class Meat Thermometer with a large dial, easy to read and costs around £6 from Lakeland Ltd. www.lakeland.co.uk

If you're marinating raw meat, fish and poultry do it in the fridge. Make sufficient marinade to keep some separate if you want to use it to baste on the barbecue and never pour any leftover marinade which has had raw food in it over the finished dish.

You should eat refrigerated leftovers within four days or freeze them immediately. Bad bugs don't change the taste, smell or look of food, so you can't tell if it is dangerous - if in doubt chuck it out.

Factsheet: 'Bar B Q Heaven'

 

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