Barbecues bring out the best of our burgers and bangers at Peelham, as the temperature starts to sizzle it’s a good time to drizzle those salads and toss a chunk of meat onto your gas or charcoal-fired grill.

Please take care when cooking though, barbecues are fun social affairs as long as you take sensible precautions and follow our hot tips for staying safe when you cook outdoors.

Plan a barbecue this summer and here’s what we suggest…

1. Do a visual check of equipment

A decent barbecue should provide you with many years of trouble-free cooking but that doesn’t mean to say you shouldn’t examine your BBQ before you light the coals.

Are the legs stable and secure, is the pan area on the barbecue in good, usable condition, will you be able to cook meat on the hot coals without worrying about the BBQ tipping over or falling apart due to old age?

The condition of the equipment is an important safety factor. Never cook on a damaged or dilapidated BBQ, buy a new one if you think your old grill has seen better days.

2. Place in a safe position

Check the ground where you plan to use the barbecue. Is the area flat and stable, this is critical when you are cooking with hot coals.

Barbecues should be placed on level ground, away from wooden fences, overhanging trees and branches, keep it well away from shrubs too to reduce the risk of fire.

3. Use approved coals and lighting methods

Only buy approved charcoal from a reputable seller and consider how you are going to light the coals. Bags of pre-soaked coals are easy to light, just place them in the centre of the barbecue pan and touch the corner with a naked flame, the coals will soon be well on their well.

Or you can cover the base of the barbecue with charcoal at a depth of 2 inches and proceed to light them using fire lighters or fluid, just be careful with the amount you use.

Always follow the instructions on the packet, whatever method you use and you might want to keep a bucket of water handy just in case there are any problems.

4. Keep watching those bangers

Once the coals are lit and the barbecue is under way keep monitoring the coals at all times. Never walk away from the barbecue or leave it unattended for any period of time, especially if you are having a family gathering and there are children or pets around.

Make a point of staying with the barbecue, take ownership of the coals, it’s safer and it prevents those fresh meats from turning into cinders.

5. Leave to cool

Barbecues cook at extreme temperatures and coals stay hot long after the final burger has been cooked. Never attempt to move the barbecue until you are totally sure the coals are cool, you might want to leave it overnight just in case.

Barbecues are stacks of sizzling fun if you treat them respect, buy fresh meat from Peelham, fire up the coals and have a scrummy time this summer!