Barbecue food safety

In Australia, cooking with BBQs is central to classic notions of Australian identity with almost two thirds of households owning their own barbecue. 

The use of a barbecue for cooking meals presents unique food safety challenges. With a wide range of styles available hailing from different parts of the world such as Australia, America, Brazil or Korea; each uses different techniques of smoking or grilling to cook meat, poultry or vegetables.

Temperature control

Just as chefs or those at home should cook meat and poultry completely before serving using alternate methods such as an oven or pan, using a barbecue is no different. Barbecues can easily burn the outside of food while keeping the inside raw. It is always essential to use a food thermometer, such as the Fildes Food Safety Meat Dial Thermometer, to ensure that the internal temperature of food such as meat, reaches the correct heat. This is particularly pertinent when using the technique of smoking, which utilises low-temperature smoke from a barbecue to cook a desired ingredient over a long period of time.

Preventing cross contamination

When using a barbecue, it is important to ensure that foods are separated throughout the cooking process. For example, never place cooked meat back onto the same plate or container that contained raw meat, or use the same utensils for each stage. Likewise, do not pour used marinade or sauce onto meat after it has been cooked. Ideally, cooked and uncooked food should be stored in separate sealed containers with easy to identify labels such as the Fildes Food Safety Product Label which identifies the item, date and preparation information.

Barbecue safety 

The use of a barbecue itself can present risks within the kitchen, making it essential that it is regularly serviced and maintained correctly. For gas barbecues, this involves checking the pressure of gas cylinders and the condition of hoses and connections, while for coal-fired barbecues this means ensuring that coal is no more than 5cm thick and utilising recognised firelighters. Moreover, it is important that kitchens with barbecues are well ventilated as the fumes and gases can be harmful.

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