Kitchen & BBQ Hygiene

BBQ is sacred in these parts of Texas. In fact, it is the state pastime. We take it very seriously using the best grill, the most savory homemade sauce, deluxe cuts of meat, healthy chicken, and an experienced apron-clad cook. But even the greatest meal can be marred by poor hygiene. We are not talking about bugs that come with the backyard territory. Restaurants have strict cleanliness requirements, so why not at home? To keep guests from running back for more, and not to the bathroom, they post rules and regulations. Try them in your abode as well.

Hygiene Rules

  1. Wash hands thoroughly before and after meal preparation–with soap. Keep hand soap near the kitchen faucet so it’s easy and convenient. Tip from hands should be washed for 15 seconds to kill all germs.
  2. Do not touch contaminated surfaces. When in doubt, use bleach or other disinfectant on countertops and in sinks—inside and outside.
  3. Keep the grill debris free. Tough burned-on food doesn’t need a pressure washer, but it may take some elbow grease. You can’t avoid it. Scrape it off carefully. Most anything can be dispensed with in this way.
  4. Make sure utensils used for grilling BBQ are clean. Don’t take shortcuts and think it’s all the same residue and no one cares.
  5. Why not use paper plates. You can quickly and easily dispose of mess.
  6. Organize your activity so it is all ready before you and you don’t have to abandon your fire to go searching in the house or garage.
  7. The backyard is BBQ heaven in Houston. Create a suitable place for your grill and keep the kids informed of safety around matches and fire.
  8. Have a fire extinguisher handy in case of unforeseen events. Most chefs do not experience emergencies but little flare-ups can be scary.
  9. Refrigerate your meats until grilling time to avoid bacteria. You will probably cook it off, but why worry! Be sure you check that certain items are thoroughly cooked inside—no pink chicken or raw hot dogs. Most people like ribs well done, slathered with sauce. Rare steaks and burgers are okay of course.
  10. Use fresh vegetables for your accompaniments, whether as sides or on buns. Wash them first, as tedious as it may seem.
  11. Include all family members, including the dog, in the rules and teach children good hygiene habits for all aspects of life, but especially food preparation.

Now that you have some general guidelines, everyone will stay healthy and happy during summer BBQ time and all through the year. You can start concentrating on recipes and new ways of making every meal special. Salads abound and you never have to repeat one, unless it stands out as a family favorite. Experiment with unique sauce ingredients and different charcoal brands. Do you like mesquite or hickory? There are different types suggested for various meats as they burn in various ways. You can also look into a new grill if yours is on the wane. Think of it as a special gift to the family, neighbors, and your friends. If you see BBQ as the art it is, they will come in droves!