How to Barbecue Safely

With summer just a couple of months away from folks in the UK, many of us are already dusting down our barbecues and drooling at the thought of some luscious food for a bbq. The only problem is, sometimes a bit of English sunshine and barbecued food can go to our heads and make us lose any traces of common sense. When you’re operating something as dangerous as a BBQ it will certainly pay off to use it safely, and that’s why we’ve got a whole bunch of tips for you!

Outback bbq

The majority of people will love a good barbecue, and rightly so. But this enjoyable outdoor pastime can quickly become sour if things aren’t kept under control – one small mistake and things can go from good, to bad, to worse in just seconds.

Between 2000 and 2002 (the only data we could obtain, thanks to the HASS / LASS), there were on average 1500 reported accidents each year as a result of barbecuing and probably thousands more that were unreported.

How to Barbecue Safely

Since we don’t want you turning into a statistic by burning yourself, your friends, your family or your property, we’ve compiled a nice list of safety tips for you to read below. Make sure you read ALL of them to ensure your barbecuing adventures go perfectly (aside from a couple of burnt sausages).

Outback apron and mitt

General Safety Tips:

1) Ensure your BBQ / griller is in good condition and suitable to be used. Far too often do people dust off a barbecue which hasn’t been used for several years and expect it to be in perfect working order. If for some reason you’re unsure, ask someone who’s a bit more experienced and hands on than you to check or drop it into the place you purchased it from and get a second opinion.

2) Position the barbecue in a safe place. Avoid barbecuing under low hanging trees, near bushes or anything else that is flammable such as sheds, arches or benches. This will greatly reduce the likelihood of the flames spreading if something does go wrong as the BBQ site will be isolated. Also, when setting up the barbecue, try and do it on the flattest piece of land possible – avoid slopes and gradients. If your barbecue has wheels, lock them or put a brick either side to stop it from moving.

3) Separate the barbecue from other activities. As mentioned above, ideally you want the barbecue to be in an isolated part of the garden where your family, friends or guests aren’t constantly walking past. You don’t want it to be in an area that is being used for a football kick-around or any other type of garden activities. It is also worth bearing in mind if you have children or pets present, to make the barbecue as hard to reach as possible. This will prevent dogs from accidentally knocking it over and more importantly, it will stop kids from messing around with it and potentially ending up with serious burns. It’s also advisable to give a warning at the start of the barbecue to the children to let them know the ‘barbecuing area’ is strictly off limits – threaten them with no grilled food or something, that should do the trick.

4) Make sure the BBQ is manned at all times. Obviously this doesn’t apply to smokers (nobody expects you to stand over it whilst your food is smoked for hours upon hours), but for the regular charcoal or gas grill, there should be someone overseeing it at all times. If you have to take a toilet break, ask someone to keep an eye on things whilst you’re gone for a few minutes, nobody will object. Don’t be fooled into thinking nothing bad can happen if you leave it alone for a while – a few minutes is all it takes for things to turn ugly.

Right, that’s part 1, stay tuned for some more barbecue tips and safety advice. While you wait for part 2 why not check out this handy video on how to barbecue safely

Essential barbecue Accessories

The sun has finally arrived, you’re sitting down with a cool glass of your favourite drink and, somewhat surprisingly given the unpredictable weather the United Kingdom suffers from, there isn’t a dark cloud causing a horrible blotch on the bright blue sky. It’s the perfect setup for a barbecue, so you rush to get the barbecue out before the bad weather inevitably makes its unwelcome return. Except, you’ve lit it and you’ve forgot one key thing – barbecue accessories!

Picking the best barbecue accessories

Of course, I’m not suggesting that any of us would light a barbecue without anything to help us actually cook the food but there are things we tend to forget in our rush to make good use of the decent weather. It’s not just what you need during the cooking process though, you’ve also got to think about things you need after you’ve had your fill of sausages and the barbecue needs putting away. So here’s a handy list of six things we regard as essential barbecue accessories.

1. Gloves

Before you even begin with the cooking part refer to our recent barbecue safety guide. Outback apron and mittWhen you’re dealing with barbecues you may unsurprisingly end up getting burnt if you’re not careful, so extra protection is required just in case. Get hold of some heavy duty gloves that also protect your lower arms, as when you reach over the grill you could accidentally touch flame or be splashed by whatever is cooking. Also, the handles on the utensils you’re using can get hot so you don’t want to end up burning your fingers when picking them up.

2. Tongs

Don’t skimp by getting a flimsy pair of plastic tongs. For starters, plastic tongs and high cooking temperatures don’t exactly mix, and secondly you need some tongs with a decent grip on them. Make sure they’re easy enough to squeeze and fit your hand nicely, yet will retain a good grip on small or large items without damaging the food. Make sure the tongs have a good reach so you don’t have to reach your hand into the fire, although they shouldn’t be too heavy as you don’t want to add to the weight of any food you have to flip.

3. Fork

 

Apparently it’s a myth that poking holes in your meat will make all the juices flow out, butbarbecue tools set try to keep it to a minimum anyway. Forks are ideal for testing the meat to see if it’s nearly done, but you can also use them for helping flip meat without it accidentally ending up on your lawn.

 

4. Spatula

If your spatula won’t slip underneath that pristine steak you’ve just cooked up then you’ve got a dud, unless the steak isn’t actually as pristine as you think and you’ve managed to stick it to the grill. Find one that will slip under easily and allow you to turn the food, but it also needs to be able to get those unfortunate accidents off the grill without totally destroying the remainder of the food. Tongs, forks and spatulas can be bought in packs as well as individually.

5. Cleaning Brush

After you’ve finished with your BBQ for the day you need to give it a good scrub before putting it away. You can use warm soapy water to wash it, but you need something to get rid of those stubborn pieces of burnt food. A bbq brush with brass bristles is strong enough to easily wipe away those bits, and you can finish off with a soft sponge and some disinfectant. Don’t leave it until next time, as this post says it’s important that your barbecue remains relatively clean.

6. Cover Sheet

Once it’s all cleaned up you’ll be putting your barbecue into storage until the next time the barbecue cover sheet sun decides to poke its head out of the clouds. If you’re keeping it outside a bbq sheet is an essential, otherwise the forces of nature aren’t going to do your shiny clean barbecue any favours. I’d say that you should also use a cover even if you’re keeping it in the shed, as it’s an extra layer of protection from cold weather and damp.

Keep these in mind when buying a new barbecue or setting your current barbecue up when you haven’t used it in a while and you’ll be fine. Otherwise, picking hot sausages up with your bare hands won’t be fun in the slightest.

Cola Chicken Barbecue Meal

How To Make Cola Chicken Barbecue Meals

Everyone loves cola and everyone loves chicken; add them together and the two make a sublime meal. Cola is very useful in cooking many kinds of meat. Due to the high sugar content it forms a deliciously sweet and sticky coating which goes beautifully with savoury meats; including ham, gammon and duck.

This Sweet Cola Barbecue Chicken recipe is easy and seriously tasty. It includes a sauce that can be served in a jug so guests can choose just how cola-ish they’d like their chicken to be. Serve with a variety of salads and pastas (take a look at our side dish recipes) to please every one of your guests – no matter what their tastes are!

Ingredients

6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
Half a can of cola
A third of a finely chopped onion
1 crushed garlic clove
1 tbspn rapeseed oil
3 large spoons of tomato sauce
2 tspn Worcester sauce
1 tspn chilli powder (more if you like it hot!)
1 tbspn brown sugar
1 tbspn sweet paprika
Pinch of ground cumin
Pinch of salt

Cooking Instructions

1. Turn on your barbecue and allow plenty of time for it to get really hot. On your stove, heat a large frying pan with a little oil and cook the onion on a medium heat until transparent. Add the garlic and cook for another 3 minutes.

2. Next add cola, tomato sauce and Worcester sauce; turn down the heat and allow to simmer gently for 5 minutes stirring all the time. Add a little water if it looks too dry. Turn off heat.

3. Next, in a bowl mix the chilli powder, sugar, paprika and cumin and rub all over the chicken pieces. Place chicken on barbecue and baste with a little of the sauce. Cook for 5 minutes or until tender and then serve with remaining sauce in a small jug.

Cooking Tips
Always use fresh chicken and buy the best quality possible. When crushing garlic, if you do not have a garlic crusher, use the back of a heavy knife to squash and press the bulb. Lumps of garlic never taste good in any dish, you want the garlic to gently infuse the food and not to sit among the ingredients. Always ensure chicken is cooked thoroughly before serving it; if you are unsure, slice into a piece to check it. Any pink flesh is a bad thing and the chicken should all be returned to the grill until the meat is white throughout.

Serving Suggestions
This chicken works well with a variety of side dishes and it’s also great served on bread as a sandwich. You could also offer spicy rice, or fresh green salad as an accompaniment.

If you need more pieces of chicken than there are in the recipe, simple double the ingredients for the sauce to ensure that you have plenty to offer.

how to make a barbecue pulled pork sandwich

Barbecue pulled pork sandwich

If you think that pork isn’t an easy meat to cook well, think again! Roasting pork in the oven on its own almost never produces a tender, tasty meal, but pulled pork is a different thing altogether. By taking the meat apart you’re increasing its tenderness and slow cooking it ensures that it’s fall-apart tasty by the time it’s ready to be finished off on the barbecue.

Far from being a bother, cooking your pork twice is as easy as pie. If you’re planning a barbeque at lunchtime, simple pop the meat into the oven as soon as you wake up in the morning. It’s not hard work at all.

For a really amazing sandwich, the following recipe will have your guests clamouring to know your secret.

The Best Barbecue Pulled Pork Ever

Prep Time1 hr Cook Time4 hr Total Time5 hr

Ingredients

3llb pork shoulder; ask your butcher to bone it and leave the rind attached and tied.
2 onions roughly chopped
1 tbspn smoked paprika
3 bay leaves
1 tbspn mustard powder
3 tbspn tomato sauce
1 tbspn Worcester sauce
4 tbspn red wine vinegar
3 tbspn brown sugar

Crusty bread and fresh coleslaw to serve

Instructions for barbecue

Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Throw the onions and the bay leaves into a deep roasting dish. Mix the mustard, paprika and a pinch of salt and pepper; rub this mixture into the pork shoulder ensuring that you work it into all of the crevices.
Place the meat on top of the onions and bay leaves and add 200ml water to the tin. Wrap the meat with foil and then bake for 4 hours. You can if desired do this up to 2 days in advance. Just keep the meat covered and chilled.
Then the meat is cooked, light your barbeque and in a bowl mix the tomato sauce, Worcester sauce, the vinegar and the brown sugar. Remove the meat from the tin and place the tin on your hob. Add the tomato sauce mixture to the tin and cook on a moderately high heat until it bubbles and becomes smooth. Stir it constantly as it cooks.
Take the bay leaves out of the sauce and whizz the sauce in a blender until very smooth. Now rub half of the sauce over the meat and reserve the other half.

When your barbecue flames have calmed down, place the meat onto the grill and cook on both sides for 10 minutes or until nicely charred. The meat will be falling apart at this point so take care that it doesn’t drop down amongst the coals.
Place the meat onto a large platter and remove the skin and string. Now with two forks, vigorously pull it all apart. Serve on crusty rolls with a dollop of the reserved sauce and a side of coleslaw.