Summer is just around the corner and BBQs are being dusted off ready for some parties and good cooking. It makes sense at this time of the year to raise some of the issues around BBQ health and safety and not just the obvious.
In the last few years as BBQing has grown in popularity and “innovations” have occurred, there have been noticeable references to health and safety when using BBQs, especially BBQs that use charcoal or wood. People are people and many of us learn by trial and error but as reports into safety and health issues increase, a do and do not set of rules when BBQing is becoming easier to create and more necessary. Many of the points are pure common sense but common sense has a habit of flying out the window when it comes to summer and having a few drinks with food cooked outdoors.
BBQing is an outdoor thing. Sure, there are purpose-built BBQs that can be used indoors, and gas BBQs are ok to use. However, when using a real fire or charcoal burning BBQ indoors there are some simple rules. The simple rules are one golden rule, and it is VENTILATE. Carbon Monoxide is a silent and invisible killer and charcoal can create lots of it in an unventilated space.
Barbecuing indoors needs to be done properly with the correct equipment and set up in a manner designed for an indoor BBQ. Just bringing your BBQ into the garage or even into the lounge (yes, some people do) is not good enough if the truth is to be told. Despite many BBQ manufacturers claiming that their equipment can be used indoors it is not recommended. A bit of smoke indoors may seem like a fun thing at the time, but it can be a killer.
Every year many people get injured at BBQs. Very often every accident is preventable and nearly always an accident happens because basic BBQ safety has been ignored. A Barbecue, especially charcoal or real fire barbecues are dangerous pieces of equipment. Anything hot where people are milling around can soon become a lethal weapon and just saying “accidents happen” really is not good enough. Every year hundreds of BBQ related sources produce BBQ safety guidelines and they do so for a very good reason.
When lighting a Barbecue there are some common-sense basics that must be adhered to:
Once your barbecue is a light and heating up you can soon get cooking. Once again when you are cooking there are some safety tips you need to consider. These include:
Barbecuing safely is not difficult if you just use common sense. When you are barbecuing you are quite literally playing with fire. Even once you have finished cooking there are a handful of safety considerations that are easily overlooked. Things to think about and take note of are:
Safety is a big concern when you have a BBQ, but equally health is now something that must be considered. There has been a lot of discussion in recent years about BBQ health, especially around firelighters and disposable barbecues.
To be honest, Firelighters, the waxy brick type firelighters are disgusting things. Given a choice they are not ideal for a BBQ, even though they claim to be made for the purpose. Firelighters are full of toxic chemicals that even once burnt out can remain in the coals. Firelighters stink and that stink can begin to taint food.
However, there are growing numbers of “green” or natural firelighters that are less toxic. When choosing to light your charcoal with firelighters take a close look at their packaging and read what is inside them. Choosing a green or natural alternative is always better.
My favourite BBQ lighting fuel is FireDragon. It is available in solid and gel and burns cleanly, is eco-friendly, non-toxic, odourless, and easy to ignite even when wet and if necessary, it can also be used as a hand cleanser.
It seems that everything in life is becoming disposable and the same is true with Barbecues. They have been around for a few years now and they are extremely convenient. However, there are growing concerns around the health and safety of using these tinfoil trays.
There are a few things to consider when it comes to disposable barbecues, especially the cheaper ones. Some of the barbecues use fire lighting materials that give off very toxic fumes, some even have charcoal from tainted or chemically improved materials that can further taint food. Some cook food ok but others just do not work, some could even be poisonous.