For many of us, summer means barbeque season. If you don't already have a grill that you're happy with, now's the perfect opportunity to treat your family to a new masonry, concrete or brick barbeque, and invite friends and loved ones round to join the party.
But, in a world where there's an increasing focus on health and fitness, how can we ensure that our barbeques are as healthy as possible? Here are a few tips from barbeque experts Big K, who are suppliers of a wide range of outdoor living products, including brick and concrete barbeques.
Big K Outdoor Living Products – Follow the link for details of our barbeques, accessories and fuels.
Safer Grilling Tips
Nothing smells more delicious than meat sizzling on a barbeque grill. However, even if you like your steak rare, it's important to make sure items such as sausages and burgers are thoroughly cooked before tucking in. This doesn't just help the flavour, but also avoids any risks of food poisoning. To check meat is properly cooked, cut its thickest point and check it doesn't look pink and that any juices are running clear. You also need to wash hands after handling raw meat to avoid cross-contamination, and avoid putting raw meat next to cooked meat on the grill.
Other tips to ensure safe grilling include turning the meat over regularly so that it cooks evenly, and making sure the BBQ fuels are hot enough before you start cooking. It's also advisable to keep foods cool in the fridge until they are needed, including salads and dips as well as dairy products and meats, and avoid leaving food out in the sun.
Of course, the grilled taste is a big part of the appeal of barbeque food, but too much charring isn't good for us. One helpful tip to avoid this is to cut excess fat off meat before cooking, which will reduce the risk of flare-ups. Another is to steep the meat in a marinade based on olive oil or citrus juices, as this can help to stop it burning. However, if you do end up with one or two heavily charred bits, you can always cut them off.
Healthier Menu Choices
Barbeque dishes can range beyond the sausages and hamburgers, so why not be adventurous and add some delicious lower-fat alternatives? Chicken and fish are both lower in fat than red meats, while vegetable kebabs, homemade veggie burgers and sausages or corn on the cob are all delicious grilled and enjoyed in the open air.
Serving up plenty of salads to accompany the barbeque meats will help to make a healthy feast, while fruits such as pineapples and bananas can also be cooked on the grill. Homemade barbeque sauces and marinades are also likely to be much healthier than bottled ones, which can contain a surprisingly large amount of added sugar. There are many different recipes to choose from, or you could invent your own!
Another tip to help ensure a healthier barbeque is to help everyone stay well hydrated by offering plenty of water, not just alcoholic drinks.
Keeping Your Barbeque Clean and Hygienic
One of the most important things to remember when organising a barbeque is to keep your grills clean and free from grease. Even though cooking in the open air is free and easy, hygiene with cooking appliances outdoors is as important as it is in the kitchen.
Whether you are using a masonry, concrete or brick barbeque, it will need cleaning after every use to remove any burnt-on food residues, which can cause flare-ups when cooking as well as hygiene problems. A more thorough annual clean is also a must. Big K offers a range of cleaning implements to keep your charcoal or gas barbeque clean and in good working order.
Keep Smoke to a Minimum
If a barbeque smokes too much, this could be a problem for any guest with a health condition such as asthma, as well as possibly annoying the neighbours when clouds drift over the garden fence! You could choose a gas barbeque to avoid any problems with smoke, while other tips for those using charcoal are to make sure you buy good quality fuel and firelighters, keep the grill clean and make sure the coals are just glowing before adding the meat.
Enjoy the Great Outdoors
Being out in the open air is of course healthy in itself. Barbeques encourage us all to spend more time outside, which is great – as well as helping us to relax and share quality time with family and friends. However, just following our simple health tips can help to make barbeques even better and ensure summer enjoyment for everyone. One last tip is not to forget the sunscreen, which is especially vital if you are having your barbeque party at lunchtime!
Big K has an extensive range of barbeques and accessories, including chimney barbeques and clay chimneas as well as stone and brick barbeques. We also supply quality BBQ fuels.
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