There are several reasons why doing a family barbecue is a great idea: for one the entire family can be involved making it an all inclusive, fun activity for everyone, where everyone can have a contribution to make.
It is a good way for the entire family with kids to spend quality time. Secondly it is an outdoor activity so everyone is getting some fresh air and sunshine. And thirdly barbecuing involves grilling of the food, which is a healthy, low fat method of cooking.
However, though we think of barbecuing as being a healthy way to cook food, beware of the following:
1. Too long and too hot on the grill can add heterocyclic amines (HCA) to develop in the meat, which can be carcinogenic. So choose smaller pieces of the meat so that they take less time to cook. Also if possible microwave the pieces for a few minutes so that they par-cooked and need to be on the barbecue for a shorter time. Turn the pieces over frequently so they don’t get singed on any one side.
2. Make sure the barbeque rests on a solid surface so there is no chance of it tipping over on kids. It should also be a safe distance from any shrubbery, hedge, fence or wall of the house.
3. Use proper charcoal lighting fluid, for starting the charcoal BBQ. Never make the mistake of using gasoline, as it can be dangerous.
4. Give strict instructions to the children to keep a distance from the hot grill if too young. If they are old enough to participate, make sure they are adequately supervised before you let them go solo. If kids are too young to help in the grilling, involve them in the setting up of a picnic, or let them help in marinating and preparing the meat.
5. Teach the children proper BBQ etiquette: standing a safe distance as you fire up the grill, using precautions when grilling the meat, not spraying lighter fluid on coals that are still hot, as it could result in an explosion. After the cooking is done, it is important to smother the coals properly and make sure all the sparks are out, lest there is an unforeseen conflagration that leads to an accident. Long handled utensils and oven mitts to be used at all times.
6. Never use the same plate for the raw and the cooked meat.
With some basic precautions, barbecues can be enjoyable family times that will be cherished childhood memories for your children.