Food expert issues urgent BBQ warning before Brits fire up the grill this summer

Close up grilling barbecue in the campground at summer camp travel, Skewers of pork and beef fillet on barbecue party in camping, Summer Camp Travel one activity for relaxing.
It's important to give your outdoor grill a clean before firing it back up -Credit:Getty Images

As warmer weather arrives in the UK, now is the time many will be dusting off the barbecue, gathering friends and family, and firing up the grill for some outdoor feasting.

However, before diving into the sizzling excitement, it's crucial to give your barbecue a thorough cleaning to ensure you enjoy your meal without risking foodborne illnesses like Salmonella and E. coli.

Anyone who has suffered from either of these will know that they are quite unpleasant, as both can lead to severe gastrointestinal distress, including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea. If a sickness breakout is traced back to your grilling, you may never be asked to host again.

Food safety expert, Jabraan Ahmed Saffron Alley meet suppliers has provided a step-by-step guide to getting your BBQ in top shape for the season. Even better, his method uses a classic combination of baking soda, white vinegar and a touch of dish soap, which is ideal if you don't like chemical laden cleaners.

A dirty barbecue can be a breeding ground for bacteria and other harmful germs. Leftover grease and food debris from previous cookouts can harbour bacteria, which can contaminate fresh food.

Additionally, carbon build-up can affect the taste of your food and impact the grill's performance.

How to clean your BBQ safely to prevent food poisoning

Close up of a senior man cleaning barbecue during a picnic day.
This step-by-step guide can help get your grill sparkling -Credit:Getty/iStockphotos

Equipment needed:

  • Stiff-bristle grill brush (preferably brass or stainless steel)

  • Mild dish soap

  • Baking soda and white vinegar

  • Rubber gloves

  • Bucket

  • Microfiber cloth or sponges

  • Toothpicks or wire for burner cleaning (for gas grills)

Step-by-Step Cleaning Guide

Prepare the grill - Remove any excess debris from the grates with a stiff brush If your grill is gas, turn the burners to high for 10-15 minutes to burn off excess grease.

For charcoal grills, empty the ashes and dispose of them properly.

Clean the grates - Let the grill cool down slightly but remain warm. Using the grill brush, scrub away burnt residue. Alternatively, remove the grates entirely and soak them in warm, soapy water before scrubbing.

For stubborn build-up, make a paste of baking soda and water, apply it to the grates, and scrub after 10 minutes.

Tackle the interior - With the grates removed, scrape the interior walls to clear out grease build-up. Wipe down the interior with a damp cloth dipped in warm, soapy water.

For gas grills, check the burner tubes for clogs and clean with a toothpick or wire.

Focus on the exterior - Use warm, soapy water or a vinegar solution to wipe down the lid and exterior surfaces. Polish with a microfiber cloth to restore the shine.

Rinse and dry - Rinse all soapy surfaces thoroughly to avoid leaving residue that could affect the flavour. Dry all components completely before reassembling.

Prevent Future build-up - Regularly clean your grill after each use by brushing the grates. Empty the drip tray regularly to prevent grease build-up.

Extra Tips

  • Grill Liners - Use aluminium foil or grill mats for easier cleaning and to prevent flare-ups.

  • Check the Gas - For gas grills, inspect hoses and connections for leaks or wear before the season starts.

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