It’s Australian tradition to get outdoors and barbecue over the summer months. With blue skies and warm days, we love to eat outside in Queensland – whether that’s a BBQ at home with family or a picnic by the beach with friends.
There are few things to remember to keep you, your family and any guests safe from the hazards of food poisoning though.
In this article, you’ll find our food safety tips for eating outdoors at home and at the park, beach or whatever other outdoors location you might be visiting.
Make sure to read to the end for some BBQ and picnic recipe inspiration!
Eating outdoors at home
When the weather is hot, it can be great to take your dinner outside – maybe even firing up the BBQ a bit more frequently. Whether you are just cooking for your family or are hosting an event outdoors at home, we’ve got some tips to keep you, your family and any potential guests safe.
- Keep meat in the fridge until it’s ready to be cooked and keep salads and other cold sides in the fridge till ready to be served.
- Keep all of your food covered until it’s ready to be eaten. Flies aren’t friends!
- Make sure to cook stuffed meats, sausages, hamburgers (and other minced meats) and chicken all the way through. You can use a food thermometer (cook to at least 75 °C) to check that the food is cooked all the way through.
- Don’t buy cracked or dirty eggs and always fully cook any food made from eggs.
- Use separate plates and utensils for cooked and uncooked foods.
- Replenish nibbles as required rather than putting them all out at once. This especially applies to perishable items like dips, cheese, pate and fresh veggies and salads.
- Wrap up and refrigerate leftovers immediately after the meal is finished.
- Store drinks in a portable cooler or beverage fridge rather than in the main refrigerator to keep the temperature stable. Continually opening and closing the door will cause temperature fluctuations.
- Dispose of any high-risk food left in the temperature danger zone (between 5 °C and 60 °C) for more than four hours.
High-risk foods include:
- Raw and cooked meat, including poultry
- Small goods such as deli meats
- Eggs and egg products
- Dairy products
- Prepared salads
- Prepared fruit salads
- Cooked rice and pasta
- Ready to eat foods
Eating outdoors away from home
If you don’t have a BBQ or picnic during summer in Queensland, are you even a Queenslander? We love to take eating out of doors during the summer months (and beyond) to enjoy our beautiful beaches, countryside and hinterland.
Taking food out of the home does increase some food safety risks though. Don’t despair! We’ve gathered tips to ensure you steer clear of food poisoning:
- Use an esky when travelling to keep cold foods cold.
- To avoid cross-contamination, keep raw meat well packaged to avoid juices leaking onto other foods. Also, store it at the bottom of the cooler just in case. Store ready to eat foods at the top of the esky.
- Prepare foods as much as possible at home before leaving to reduce the need for handling foods, mainly where there may not be any or adequate hand washing facilities.
- Marinate foods in the fridge, never on the kitchen bench or outdoors.
- Allow precooked foods to cool in your fridge before packing into an esky. Eskies cannot cool foods faster enough to avoid bacteria from growing.
- Pack plenty of ice, ice packs and ice bricks around the food in your esky.
- Travel with your esky out of the sunlight. You can even cover it with a blanket for extra insulation.
- Use your picnic basket to store and carry non-perishable items like nuts, chips and other snacks – not cold foods.
- Bring disposable wipes and hand sanitizer with you in case there are no handwashing facilities available.
Get outdoors – summer recipe inspiration
Now that you’re well versed in the food safety implications of eating outdoors, it’s time to get creative. We’ve collected some tasty, inventive and perfect-for-summer recipes for you:
- Sick of the same old sausages? Mix up your BBQ menu with barbecued lemongrass chicken with green mango salad.
- Excite guests and family alike with a zingy beef fillet salad served on a balmy summer evening.
- Take your picnic to the next level by preparing ahead of time! Bake this pumpkin, goat’s curd and thyme tart.
- Ditch soggy and boring sandwiches for something a little peppier. Make these easy poached chicken and lime mayonnaise sandwiches.
- Stop stocking up on store-bought potato salad and impress everyone with a fresh smashed potato salad.