on a boat...
Many boat owners enjoy a BBQ on the back of the boat, or on some quiet beach. However, there are health risks if you don’t store, prepare and cook your food properly. This guide gives you some helpful tips so that you can enjoy your barbecued food safely.
Barbecuing – the risks
The main risk factors to your health when using a barbecue are:
- under-cooked meat
- spreading germs from raw meat onto food that’s ready to eat
- setting fire to either yourself or your boat
Cooking meat on a barbecue
When you’re cooking meat on a barbecue, such as chicken, pork, steak, burgers or sausages, make sure:
- the coals are glowing red with a powdery grey surface before you start cooking
- frozen meat is properly thawed before you cook it
- you turn the meat regularly and move it around the barbecue to cook it evenly
Remember that meat is safe to eat only when:
- it is piping hot in the center
- there is no pink meat visible
- any juices are clear
Handling raw meat
Germs from raw meat can move easily onto your hands and then onto anything else you touch, including food that is cooked and ready to eat. This can happen if raw meat touches anything, including cooking utensils which then come into contact with other food.
Some simple steps that will help prevent the spread of germs from raw meat are:
- wash your hands after every time you touch raw meat
- use separate utensils (plates, tongs, containers) for cooked and raw meat
- never put cooked food on a plate or surface that has had raw meat on it
- keep raw meat in a sealed container away from foods that are ready to eat, such as salads and bread
- don’t put raw meat next to cooked or partly-cooked meat on the barbecue
- don’t put sauce or marinade on cooked food if it has already been used with raw meat
Click here for advice on meat safety and
- There’s a full range of prices: inexpensive grills are easy to find, and upscale models are available too (+)
- Gets very hot (+-)
- Needs to be manually lit and preheated for a minimum of 20 minutes (usually much longer) (-)
- Cleaning is more complicated due to ashes (-)
- Smoky flavor every time you grill (+-)
- Tough to keep a constant temperature (-)
- You get to play with real fire (on a boat!!) (+-)
- Typically pricier than charcoal, though inexpensive models are available (+-)
- A more complicated grill means more parts that can break (-)
- Easy to clean (+)
- Has the option of smoky flavor or not, with use of wood chips in a smoker box (+)
- Convenient (+)
- To avoid losing juices during turning, always flip your meat or vegetables using tongs or a spatula, rather than a fork.
- Try to limit the flips. Ideally, you should flip each item once during the grilling process.
- Whatever you do, don’t press down on burgers or chicken (or anything) with a spatula while they’re grilling! This squeezes out the juices and once they’re gone … they’re gone! If you’re bored and need something to do with your hands, learn to juggle (but not too close to the grill, please!).
- For great smoky flavor, soak some wood chips (hickory, oak, or other hardwoods but not treated lumber!) in water for a while, then throw them onto your charcoal and cover the grill, or if you’re using gas, put them into your smoker box following the manufacturer’s instructions.
- To infuse grilled foods with herb essence, toss herbs directly onto the charcoal while you’re grilling. Or, if you’re using a gas grill, soak the herbs in water, and place them on the grate before putting your food on top of them.
- If you want to baste your meat or vegetables, save this step for last. That way the sugars in your marinade or sauce won’t have time to caramelize or burn.
- Try plank grilling your fish.
- If this all sounds too complicated, or if it’s raining or cold outdoors, you can grill indoors with a contact grill or use a grill pan.
So, what are you waiting for? Fire up the barbie! Despite what some fervent grillers say, one isn’t necessarily superior to the other. There are pros and cons to both grilling methods, so it’s really your call! Here’s a rundown of some of the pros and cons:
Barbecue Tips and Tricks
Marinades & recipes
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find recipes and ideas for marinades. Once
you've made your first BBQ sauce you really are on
your way to being a master griller!