Barbecue safety: How to have a safe and enjoyable cook out
Barbecuing and grilling is a great past time for those who want to cook good food or enjoy the company of friends or family. The combination of a fine summers day or a chilled summer evening can bring out. However, when you barbecue. You have to remember you are literally cooking with fire. It is fine to have a relaxing time, but at the same time.
Keep an Eye on your Children and Pets.
First of all. Never let your Barbecue go unsupervised. It may be the most obvious rule of all but even in the most controlled situations. The fire in your barbecue can change in the blink of an eye if the wind picks up and you may have to control the situation very quickly to prevent damage.
Make sure you keep your children away and unable to get close to the barbecue. It sounds obvious, but children can move quite quickly and a running child can knock over the sturdiest of grills. Make sure they are in an area away from the barbecue, but with enough space you can talk to them.
If your child is not old enough to walk. Don’t leave a baby stroller out near the barbecue either, even if you have a hold of it. As said before, fire can change quickly and smoke is not good for a child’s lungs. Keep them far away from your grill, but always in your sight.
Alongside children, if you have any pets, either keep them indoors or an area away from the barbecue. Unlike children, they might not listen so well when they can smell you have that juicy steak you are grilling up.
Make sure they are in a safe area and supervised outside with plenty of shade and water, but if they remain too curious and keep approaching the grill, leave them inside the house. And if they behave, well, maybe they can have that spare sausage once it’s cooled down as a treat. Just be careful in what they consume and make sure tables are clean. Alcohol and dogs do not mix.
Mind Your Drink
Another area you should be vigilant in is your own alcohol consumption. It’s fine to have a glass of vino or a can of cool, refreshing beer while you are cooking up your food. But over consumption on a warm day can lead to your judgment getting impaired very quickly.
Remember that you are literally cooking with fire and one mistake can be dangerous. Keep your alcohol under control and consider having a glass of water in between alcoholic drinks. Or better, keep a bottle of ice cold water near by so you can feel refreshed without the need for alcohol
Always Check The Weather
Checking the weather may seem obvious. Of course you don’t want your cookout, rained out as is typical of the Irish weather. But even on a guaranteed fine sunny day in Ireland, the breeze can be rather fierce. Especially in coastal areas. Not only can it stop your grill from lighting, an errant strong breeze can push the flames higher and surprise you (Or worse, give you a nasty burn from the singe).
When you do light it up. The wind might push the flames higher. So make sure you set up your grill in an enclosed area where the wind cannot affect it and keep all flammable materials away.
Prepare Your Food Properly
Make sure your preparation is clean and your food is fully cooked. It can be a real disappointment to have a great BBQ only for everyone to come down with food poisoning the right day. If you are preparing outdoors, make sure your Barbecue has been cleaned beforehand. Always clean your hands after handling different types of meat.
And make sure your food is cooked all the way through. Even if it takes another few minutes. Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature to make sure it’s cooked correctly. Always be safe rather than sorry.
Clean up after yourself
While you might be a bit full of cheer after and not in the mood for cleaning. Make sure your Barbeque is turned off or extinguished properly. If you are using a charcoal grill. You will have to wait till the ashes are completely cooled off so make sure your barbeques vents and lid are closed and leave it overnight to cool off. This may take up to two days so be careful of hot ashes before you dispose of them. You can safely dispose ashes by wrapping them in tinfoil after they have cooled and throwing them in your regular waste bin. Make sure to bring the grills inside and clean them so you can prevent bacteria forming on them. Finally, make sure your grill or Barbecue is covered from the elements and the area around it is clean so it doesn’t attract any animals.
Don’t forget you can take steps to prevent issues. You can purchase a fire blanket and a CO2 extinguisher from your local DIY store. The Outdoor Scene also sells many meat thermometers to help with cooking at the right temperature. Following a few simple steps will lead to a safe and enjoyable barbecue.