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When boy meets grill.

TEMPERATURES may be falling for the Easter weekend - but that won't stop hardy Scots digging out the barbecues.

supermarkets are reporting rising sales of disposable grills, fuel, burgers, sausages and alcohol. Tesco expects to sell more than a million bags of charcoal, 250,000 chicken wings, drums and thighs, 3.5million sausages and 12million bottles and cans of beer.

But barbecues also come with a health warning as emergency services prepare for a rise in callouts for burns or food poisoning.

Here HEATHER GREENAWAY lists a few tips to keep you safe and healthy - if you can brave the elements to fire up the barbecue.

DO...? INVEST in a decent barbecue rather than buy a series of disposable trays.

. ? USE long-handled tools and long barbecue mitts to protect you from the heat. Use tongs or metal spatulas to turn foods.

. ? HAVE two sets of utensils ready when you are cooking poultry and meats - one to handle raw food and one to handle cooked food.

. ? MAKE sure your barbecue is placed on level ground where it will not tip over.

. ? WAIT until the charcoal has changed to grey ash before starting to cook or raw food will cause a flare-up.

. ? KEEP barbecues away from the house, sheds, fences, garden furniture and overhanging trees or shrubs. Don't put the barbecue where people have to squeeze past it. ? USE approved barbecue fuel or fire lighters. Never use petrol or paraffin.

? KEEP children and any garden games well away from the cooking area.

. ? WATCH out when you are cooking fatty foods. Lots of fat spilling onto the coals might make them flare up.

. ? MAKE sure the barbecue is cool before you try to move it after all cooking has been done. ? EMPTY the spent ash onto bare garden soil - never put it in the dustbin.

. ? PREVENT and extinguish flare-ups by putting the lid down. When you do that, the amount of oxygen which feeds the fire will be reduced.

. ? TRIM excess fat from meats to make cleanup easier and reduce the chance of flare-ups. ? ALLOW more cooking time on cold or windy days and less in extremely hot weather.

? COAT the cooking grate with grilling spray before you place it over the heat. It is helpful to brush the food with olive or vegetable oil before grilling to prevent sticking.

DON'T...? TRANSFER cooked food to the same platter on which you brought the raw food to the grill unless you have lined the platter with waxed paper, foil, or plastic wrap to hold the raw food.

. ? GUESS if food is done. Always check with a thermometer and a timer. Overdone is better than underdone.

Risks are not worth it.

. ? FLATTEN burgers, steaks, and chops with a spatula - it will only press out flavourful juices and cause flare-ups. Flip the food only once if possible.

. ? FORGET to loosen skinless meats, such as chicken, with a spatula after a few minutes.

. ? NEVER leave the barbecue unattended.

. ? DRINK too much. The cook doesn't need to be marinated around flames.
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Apr 23, 2011
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