Break out the barbecue
There should still be a good few weeks of nice weather before autumn creeps in, so make the most of it and break out the barbecue!
It’s been lying around your garage for so long; you had almost given up hope of getting it out one day. What’s that? Oh, the barbecue! Summer is the season for barbecues, when you can invite your friends over for a good old-fashioned summer barbecue party.
Treat yourselves to spicy sausages, and marinated meat or fish skewers, along with gorgeous grilled vegetables. But how do you cook these types of food? And what precautions should you take to avoid food poisoning?
Here’s some advice to take on board before fuelling up your barbeque…
Barbecues are slimming
Everyone loves a barbecue. But did you know that it is also a very healthy way of cooking meat? In contrast to frying, there is no need to add butter or oil. Even better, barbecuing meat gets rid of some of the fats in sausages (as long as you remember to prick them) and other fatty meats like lamb and pork.
The choice of food that can be barbecued means menus can be varied: apart from meat, fish also cooks well on the barbecue, as do tomatoes, peppers and other vegetables, which can produce some lovely new flavours on the charcoal…
Tips for tackling any lurking barbecue microbes
When having a barbecue, you have to be vigilant in order to avoid food poisoning. Here are some simple food hygiene tips for making sure that microbes don’t find their way onto your picnic plate.
- Cut through meat to check that it’s cooked in the middle. If your barbeque is too hot, meat can sometimes char on the outside while barely warming through to the middle;
- Use a thermometer for meat, especially if you are cooking large pieces. The internal temperature must be higher than 70°C for beef and 80°C for poultry;
- Serve food off the barbecue straight away;
- Avoid contamination of cooked food by raw food by using two different plates; one for before barbecuing and one for after;
- In the same way, use separate utensils and cloths for cooked and raw food.
Health risks with barbecued meat
You might have heard that cooking meat on the barbecue is carcinogenic. This belief is based on the fact that fat falls onto the burning charcoal and releases molecules that are known to have carcinogenic effects. This potential risk is still undergoing scientific research.
Nonetheless, in order to feel reassured, you can opt for a vertical home barbecue, which means the fat cannot fall onto the burning charcoal. More simply, you can make small foil parcels thus preventing released fats going back onto the meat. However, you will lose the smokiness that gives barbecued meat its wonderful flavour this way.
A number of studies have also pointed the finger at meat cooked at high temperatures, causing burning and charring, as increasing the risk of pancreatic cancer. The answer to this one is simple – don’t burn your meat! Wait until the flames have died down somewhat and then barbeque your meat with the heat from the embers – you’ll still get the flavour without the burnt bits.
And on a more positive note, some studies have underlined the protective effect marinades have for food on the barbecue: so dip meat in the sauce of your choice before cooking it.
And last but certainly not least, always follow the safety instructions on your barbecue to avoid burns!
Delicious barbecue recipe suggestions
- Saffron chicken brochettes
- Vegetable kebabs
- Swordfish skewers with rocket salsa
- Tandoori paneer kebabs
- Skewered beef with lime, ginger and honey
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