Planning a BBQ this weekend? How to up your grill game and avoid good food safety habits going up in smoke

safefood teams up with TV Chef Donal Skehan to offer expert food safety advice that will help home cooks deliver the best lockdown barbeque this weekend

 Are you planning a barbeque in your garden this weekend? With Northern Ireland set to bask in glorious sunshine, many of us will take to the garden with family to light-up a barbeque and enjoy some delicious burgers, tasty hot dogs and tender chicken kebabs.

Nothing quite says summer like a barbeque and safefood has teamed up with TV Chef Donal Skehan to help local home cooks up their grill game and avoiding their al fresco dining experience going up in smoke. 

safefood is reminding people to make sure they cook their burgers well done and avoid any food safety mishaps, which can lead to people getting sick.

Dr Gary Kearney, Director of Food Science at safefood said; “For many of us, a home barbeque is one of those dining activities that we can still enjoy as a family, despite the current Covid-19 restrictions. And with longer evenings and hopefully some warmer days ahead, having a barbeque is a great way to enjoy home-cooked food outdoors.

“However, don’t let your good food safety habits go up in smoke when you light your barbeque. Always cook burgers, sausages, chicken and kebabs well done. That means, piping hot all the way through – no pink meat remaining and any juices running clear. If you’re cooking steaks these can be cooked to preference.”

If you haven’t used a barbeque yet this year, safefood recommend cleaning it by scrubbing the metal rack with a suitable oven cleaner or a damp brush dipped in bicarbonate of soda, and then rinsing it thoroughly afterwards with warm soapy water.

Dr Kearney continues: “My rule of thumb for cooking on a barbeque is to keep cold foods cold, hot foods hot and keep hands and utensils clean. Perishable foods like salads and coleslaw should stay in the fridge until you need them. Don’t leave cooked food outside and cover any leftovers, making sure they’re stored in the fridge within two hours. You can use cooked leftovers within three days, but if in any doubt, throw them out.

“And always wash your hands and utensils after handling raw meat or poultry and before you go to handle cooked or ready-to-eat foods. That helps prevent cross-contamination from happening.”

Supporting the campaign, TV Chef Donal Skehan said; “With all of us spending our time at home and in our garden, the beauty of the barbeque is the fun, relaxed and family friendly environment that it creates. Having a safe barbeque is as important as having a delicious one and safefood has all the food safety tips and advice you need.

“Make sure not to scorch everything! If the heat is too high and you can’t control it, your food, meat especially, can be black on the outside but still undercooked on the inside. Leave the hot coals on one side or if you are using a gas barbeque and keep the heat low on one side.

“And remember, foods like burgers, chicken and sausages need to be cooked well done, all the way through. We have already had some great barbeque weather this summer and let’s hope there is plenty more to come! Happy cooking!”

safefood’s 7 top tips for a safe barbeque

1.Keep perishable foods like salads, coleslaw and quiche in your fridge until you are about to serve them.

2/Burgers, sausages and kebabs, pork and poultry must be cooked all the way through – but steaks can be served ‘rare’ as harmful bacteria are on the outside only (and not in the centre).

3. If you like to marinate your meat, 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.

4. If you choose to barbeque any frozen food, it must be firstly completely thawed on the bottom shelf of your fridge before you cook it.

5. When handling raw meat and poultry, wash your hands thoroughly and frequently, most importantly before going on to prepare salads and other ready to eat foods.

6. Once your meat is cooked thoroughly, make sure to keep cooked meat separate from raw meat and to use separate chopping boards, cooking utensils and plates. Harmful bacteria in raw meat, poultry and their juices can cross contaminate cooked food and lead to food poisoning, something your family won’t thank you for.

7. If there are leftovers from your barbeque, allow the food to cool before refrigerating, however make sure to refrigerate food within two hours of cooking. Always remember that with leftovers – if in doubt, throw it out.

For more barbeque information including great recipes visit:


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