Heritage Day on the way
Category Chas Everitt Property Rentals
It's almost Heritage Day and the start of the summer braai season, but there are risks involved in this method of cooking, so now's the time to make sure you won't be getting any burnt fingers or other injuries while preparing your chops.
For a start, you need to ensure adequate ventilation wherever you braai, because burning wood and charcoal produce carbon monoxide that is colourless, odourless and tasteless but can suffocate you in a closed "braai room", tent or caravan. It is always preferable to braai outdoors on a level surface and away from trees and structures that could catch fire, such as a thatch lapa.
Other safety tips include keeping a bucket of sand or a fire extinguisher at hand to quickly douse the flames if you have to, and keeping your braai and grill clean to avoid fat from causing a flare-up. In addition, you should wear an apron to protect your clothes and skin from sparks and fat spatters and an oven glove that reaches up over your forearm to prevent burns when turning food over. And do be sure to use proper long braai tongs and forks - not normal eating utensils.
You should never use petrol or other liquid accelerant to ignite a braai fire, and never leave a fire unattended, especially if there are children or animals around. You should also try to keep smoke inhalation to a minimum.
Once your food is cooked and you move away from the fire, you need to make sure the coals are properly extinguished with water.
Meanwhile, the quick, clean and increasingly popular gas grill can also pose a serious health hazard through mechanical failure if it is not properly maintained, so you need to go through the following safety checklist:
* Check hoses and joints to make sure there are no blockages caused by insects or accumulated fat.
* Clean out any obstructions with a pipe cleaner.
* Check for gas leaks and replace all hoses and joints showing signs of wear and tear. Also make sure none are bent so as to obstruct gas flow.
* Make sure gas hoses will not be exposed to heat or flames when the appliance is lit - fit a heat shield to protect them if necessary.
* Make sure the gas taps are turned off before changing the gas cylinder and always do this outside.
* Store gas cylinders upright and preferably not in the house or under or near the grill.
Author: Gerg Harris