Summer is finally here, and for many Canadians, that means the beginning of BBQ season!
Whether you’re grilling up hotdogs or veggies, it’s important to remember that just because you’re outdoors, doesn’t mean kitchen safety and safe food handling goes out the window. Here are 3 tips to remember the next time you fire up the grill to make sure your next meal is both delicious and safe.
If your barbecue has been sitting for a long period of time (over winter), be sure to give it a good inspection before use. Look for:
- blocked burners or metal tubes near the burners
- damaged or leaking fittings and hoses:
- use a soapy water solution and check for bubbles
- if you see bubbles, have the barbecue serviced by an authorized professional and then re-check for leaks
- replace cracked or damaged hoses even if they are not leaking
- a damaged seal (check the seal when you get your barbecue tank refilled and check for leaks after re-installing)
Also, make sure the barbecue and burners are clean and the briquettes do not have a lot of grease buildup.
When setting up your barbecue, make sure it is:
- outside and in a well-ventilated area
- far away from combustible materials and windows and doors
- on an even surface to reduce the risk of it tipping over
A BBQ Brush is a great way to maintain the quality and cleanliness of your grill, but like all things, your BBQ brush will deteriorate over time. Before each use, be sure to inspect your BBQ brush and grill top for wear.
- The metal bristles on the brush can become loose over time and stick to the grill.
- The bristles can stick to food and could be accidentally swallowed, possibly causing serious throat or digestive injuries.
- Replace your brush regularly to help avoid problems associated with wear.
- Immediately throw your brush away if the bristles come loose or stick to the grill.
- Alternatives that do not have metal bristles are also available for you to purchase.
Moving from the kitchen to the BBQ can sometimes lead to cross-contamination between food. Follow these steps to avoid the potential of foodborne illness :
- make sure to keep raw meat away from other foods, including vegetables such as lettuce and tomatoes.
- use separate utensils, cutting boards, dishes and other cooking equipment when handling raw and cooked meats. For example, do not place cooked meat on the same plate used to bring the raw meat to the BBQ. Raw juices can spread bacteria to your safely-cooked food and cause foodborne illness.
- wash your hands carefully with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw meat.
- clean all your cooking equipment, utensils and work surfaces, and then sanitize them with a mild bleach solution, in the following manner:
- combine 5 mL (1 tsp) of bleach with 750 mL (3 cups) of water in a labelled spray bottle.
- spray the bleach solution on the surface/utensil and let stand briefly.
- rinse with lots of clean water and air dry (or use clean towels).