How to cook meat properly on the barbecue

If you're making the most of the garden grill this weekend, take a moment to read the Food Standards Agency's top tips for prepping, handling and cooking raw meat...

How to cook meat properly on the barbecue

Warm weather is an invitation to get out the grill and spend time with family and friends. But while you're enjoying the last official summer weekend around the barbecue, food safety may not be the first thing on your mind. In fact, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) knows that over half of barbecue enthusiasts never even consider that they might give themselves, or one of their guests, food poisoning.

However, our research shows that food poisoning cases almost double over the summer season and when cooking outside, it’s particularly important to be mindful of the risks.

Top tips for handling meat

 - Avoid cross contamination. The way you handle and store raw meat is extremely important to avoid food poisoning .  Always store raw meat separately  before cooking and use different utensils, including barbecue tongs and chopping boards,  for raw and cooked food. Also, don’t be tempted to use marinades  on cooked food that have been in contact with raw meat.

 - Disposable barbecues take longer to heat up and to cook food. Make sure that burgers, sausages and chicken are cooked  thoroughly by cutting into the meat and checking that they are steaming hot all the way through and that all juices run clear.

 - Pre-cooking. It’s a great idea to cook chicken in the oven prior to giving it the final ‘finish’ on your barbecue. You will still  experience that ‘smoky’ flavour but you’ll know you’ve cooked the chicken all the way through.

- Charred doesn’t mean cooked! Charred on the outside doesn’t always mean the meat is cooked on the inside. Always turn food regularly and check your burgers, sausages and chicken before serving.  Check by cutting into the meat to make sure they are not pink in the middle and that the juices run clear.  

- Don’t wash raw chicken. Washing chicken or other meat can splash germs, spreading dangerous bugs on to your hands, clothes and worktops. Cooking will kill any bacteria, including campylobacter.

Now go forth and barbecue some of our favourite recipes with confidence:
Barbecue chicken recipes
Barbecue pork recipes
Barbecue lamb recipes
Barbecue fish recipes
More tips and recipes for a great barbecue

Find more information and tips for barbecuing safely from the Food Standards Agency.

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