Whenever I get the chance to go home to Australia and see my folks, one thing is for certain. If the weather is fine my dad will inevitably "fire up the barbie” – in other words set up the barbecue for cooking.
Usually, as we approach the Hong Kong Sevens the weather tends to warm up. So I thought this would be a good time to remind you all about barbecuing hygienically, so everyone can enjoy the result.
- Keep your meat chilled until it is time to cook it. We import, store and deliver our products chilled, keeping them somewhere between freezing point and 2 degrees Celsius. Your fridge at home is usually about 4 degrees or 5 degrees Celsius inside. That is fine. Just remember that the higher the temperature, the sooner you must eat your meat.
- If you're taking food to somebody else’s place, wrap vacuum-packed Farmer's Kitchen meat in newspaper, put it in an Esky (a chilly bin to Kiwis), cart it around for the least possible time, and when you get where you’re going put it the fridge or on the barbecue straight away.
- Cut on clean – I repeat, clean – cutting boards. Never use your raw meat cutting board for cutting cooked meat or your cooked meat cutting board for cutting raw meat. This may cause cross-contamination and lead to an upset tummy. I prefer plastic cutting boards for meat. They tend to be more hygienic than wooden cutting boards.
- Keep all cutting and cooking utensils and cloths clean. It’s also a good idea to wear an apron while preparing and cooking your meat. This not only keeps a messy cook’s clothes spotless, it saves you from spreading any germs you may have picked up on the way to the barbecue.
- Keep your condiments in a cool place. Never leave condiments or cooked meat sitting outside too long after everyone has enjoyed eating. Bear in mind that condensation forms in plastic containers and under plastic wrap left outside, especially after the sun has gone down.
These are just reminders of what is mostly common sense, so I hope I don’t sound like a germo-phobe. If you have any other handy hints on barbecue hygiene, please leave a message and I'll share them.
Happy barbecuing to all!