Every time the UK gets a bit of sun we seem to have people loving the sun for a few days before changing their minds and complaining that it’s actually quite hot and they want to be able to sleep properly at night. I don’t blame them for complaining about the heat, I’ve done it myself during the past couple of weeks. We’re a country that’s not exactly set-up to deal with hot weather due to not getting all that much of it during the year, which is why you end up getting guides like ’10 tips to keeping cool this summer’. The same goes for a heatwave barbecue, where the hot weather inevitably brings one out from the garden shed. Some people love them, while others detest them.
I’ve already wrote a post about why I think many British barbecues are a bit of a wash-out, but I personally love a good barbecue (which is kind of obvious given that I’m writing for this blog) and especially a heatwave barbecue. I do however realise that there are problems associated with barbecues, and during this heatwave there are going to be reports that slate barbecues for one reason for another. The thing to remember is that they’re usually safety concerns, and if you exercise common sense and act safely and properly around a barbecue then you shouldn’t have much of a problem. The following stories will show you just why good barbecue practice needs to be followed when the sun comes out and you want some juicy grilled steaks.
The Smell of Burning Grass on a Disposable Barbecue
A lot of parks have started banning barbecues; and that’s not because they’re trying to spoil your fun but they’re concerned about the damage that some people using barbecues will inflict on the grounds. Other parks have setup specific areas where you can use barbecues, although not everyone seems to be using them.
A park in Edinburgh is having a problem with people leaving burnt scorch marks in the grass after cooking on disposable barbecues. Disposable barbecues aren’t exactly the thing we’d suggest to have a good quality barbecue, but they’re popular because they’re cheap and you don’t have to find somewhere to store your barbecue during the majority of the year that British people just won’t get the weather to use it. The park does have a designated area for barbecues, complete with stones on which to put your disposable barbecue, but people are simply either ignoring this rule or don’t realise that one exists. Park wardens do try their best to stop this from happening, but they are getting frustrated at people flouting the rules and the damage that it causes to the grass.
If you think that a bit of burnt grass is nothing to cause a fuss about then consider this story from the Belfast Telegraph. The Mourne Mountain Rescue Team is concerned that disposable barbecues could potentially start a fire due to tinder dry local forests. The area hasn’t received much rain in the last few weeks, so unfortunately a single spark could set the whole place on fire. It’s not just worries about the environment though; such fires could potentially kill people in the area as they quickly spread out of control.
One reader in Canada wrote to the Montreal Gazette to suggest that electrical barbecues would ‘liven up city parks’ instead of people bringing along damaging and potentially dangerous disposable barbecues. It’s a good idea in theory, but we know just how packed parks can get during a heatwave so I’m not sure there would ever be enough available for people to have a barbecue. This would lead to people just starting their own fire like usual, although at least it’s a start.
Fires Aren’t the Only Danger
A story out of Worcester shows that barbecue fires aren’t the only thing you have to worry about. We’re well aware of taking safety precautions for ourselves when using barbecues, but what about pets when you’re flipping a good steak? Boris the Sprocker dog managed to swallow a kebab skewer and nearly died.
“Boris was in a collapsed and compromised state having deteriorated at home over the previous few hours,” said practice principal Jon Slattery.
“He was immediately assessed, stabilised and operated on by the duty veterinary surgeon and the offending foreign body removed.”
Thankfully Boris has now made a full recovery, but that’s a cautionary tale to be careful when pets are around the barbecues. Some other things to consider are bones in any barbecue food you might absent mindedly give your pet, but they can also get injured if they try to steal hot food off the barbecue. Just make sure to keep an eye on them if you let them run around outside.
At the end of the day all you have to do is have some common sense when you’re going to having a heatwave barbecue. Be aware of the environment around you; as well as the people and animals that populate it. We’re all entitled to have a good time enjoying a barbecue, but do so without inflicting damage and everything will be fine and dandy.