For many people a barbecue in the garden or on the balcony is one of the highlights of summer. And since grilling needs less fat than frying, it can also be very good for your health. Remember it doesn’t always have to be meat: barbecuing also gives vegetables and fruit an extra-special flavour.
But there is a potential downside: the danger of burning or otherwise injuring yourself, or the risk of getting ill from bacteria if meat isn’t stored, prepared or cooked properly. But a few simple tips will keep you on the safe side:
- Don’t use liquid accelerants such as alcohol (meths) or petrol (gasolene) to get the barbecue going. They’re extremely dangerous, so instead you should go for solid firestarters such as lighter cubes, paste, wood or newspaper.
- Make sure no fat drips into the fire, as this can create the carcinogen benzo(a)pyrene. Before you grill marinated meat pat it dry thoroughly and use an aluminium tray to catch the grease.
- Don’t barbecue meat too fast (hot) or too long. Black patches or too much smoke are a sign that carcinogenic HAAs are being formed.
- You shouldn’t put processed meat such as sausages or salami, ham or cold cuts on the barbecue, as this releases carcinogenic nitrosamines at high temperature.
- Go for lean meat such as fillet steak or chicken rather than sausages and pork chops.
- Use olive or peanut oil for marinades instead of butter or margarine.
- Make sure that meat (especially poultry and hamburger) is thoroughly cooked through and not raw inside.
- Use different utensils (cutting boards, knives, plates, etc.) for raw ingredients that are going on the grill than for foods that you’re eating raw.
- To avoid dehydration when it’s very hot you should drink more water and go easy on the alcohol.