How to barbecue without getting hurt? Let's put aside recipes and cooking competitions, here we talk about safety. Barbecuing with friends doesn't have to turn into an emergency room trip, and when it comes to fire and smoke you have to be careful.
If there are so many ways to cook steak or fish on the grill, and rivers of literature on the subject, the rules on how to barbecue in safety there are only three or four; and it is good to memorize them.
How to barbecue: the right position
Proper placement of the barbecue is important for it to function well and be safe. First of all, a spot sheltered from drafts should be chosen, preferably in a corner or close to a wall. Then you have to be careful about what's around, making sure that they are not flammable structures or objects that, when exposed to heat, release harmful substances into the air.
Beware of plants. Within a few meters of the barbecue there must be no plants that release leaves, pollen and flowers that can fall on the grill. There is one plant in particular, very common and widespread in gardens, which is called oleander and which contains a poisonous substance in the leaves. Well, every summer it happens that someone ends up in the hospital after eating food cooked on the barbecue contaminated by oleander. Be careful.
How to barbecue: prepare the embers
The barbecue fire must be lit a few hours before starting to cook to have the embers ready at the right point. The time to put the food on the grill is when the embers become completely white and does not release flames: the foods must never be touched by a live fire because this burns them causing them to char on the outside (with an indigestible and unhealthy result). If the fat that drips from the food causes the flame to awaken, it is necessary to cover the grill or spray some liquid, water or wine to flavor.
Charcoal is used to make embers, or vegetable charcoal, which is found in many shops and in different qualities. Charcoal is nothing more than charred wood, but where does this wood come from? If it is of good quality it will burn well, if it comes from wood scraps and scraps the yield will be different. Above all, however, the charcoal must not be made of contaminated wood because in some way the harmful substances are found in the fumes. Too low a price can mean poor material. If, on the other hand, to make the embers you start from wood, avoid pine and resinous ones in general because the resin alters the flame and the flavors of the food.
Good quality charcoal
To ignite the charcoal, use the blocks you find in the shop, better the ecological ones made with plant materials. Alternatively, you can use the special charcoal liquid, distributing it well and letting it act for a few seconds before igniting it. Absolutely avoid using alcohol or flammable liquids other than those specifically sold for the barbecue: you can't mess with fire!
How to make a barbecue: the use of seasonings
A common mistake when barbecuing in the garden is to think that all plants and herbs are our friends. Know that this is not the case. There are essences that give off harmful fumes when they go over the flame and there are herbs that are best not used to flavor foods on the grill (see the oleander above). To flavor cooking foods, use rosemary as a brush, but without letting it burn. For the rest, if you are not super experts, limit yourself to the most well-known aromas, avoiding improvising flavorings and marinades with small flowers picked here and there. They could be 'delicately' poisonous.
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