Common Challenges of Outdoor Cooking: Health and Safety Tips
By Chucky Peters • March 27, 2021 • 5 min read
The fun that comes with cooking outdoors is often spiked by a handful of challenges that tend to spoil the merry. However, by carefully abiding by simple outdoor cooking rules, you are sure of surmounting these drawbacks.
Outdoor cooking involves the use of grills or similar equipment to smoke or roast food outside your kitchen.
These kits come with various risks and hazardous tendencies which sometimes culminate into accidents. More so, it may expose you and your family to various health risks.
This informative article discusses the common challenges of outdoor cooking and ways of going around them.
An Overview of Common Challenges
Outdoor cooking at camp is very popular with youths and is an activity most children and teens love to engage in and have never done completely for themselves.
Apart from roasting hot dogs on a stick or smoking meat, most kids usually have their meals prepared for them by adults rather than getting hands-on experience themselves.
Outdoor cooking involves dangerous elements and tools — fire, knives, sharp skewers, hot pots, etc. — in a controlled environment.
If these sharp objects are not well kept, they might be harmful and cause injuries — burns or cuts — to the children during the cooking session. This poses a challenge to outdoor cooking as enjoyable as it can be.
Let’s get into the challenges properly.
Challenges of Outdoor Cooking
You might be a professional at handling kids but you will inevitably encounter challenges in offering outdoor cooking to a group of children and teens.
Here are some challenges faced while cooking outdoors:
Most kids have limited cooking skills in general and little or no experience cooking outdoors and, because of age and inexperience, will need constant instruction and supervision from adults.
In cases of backyard outdoor cooking, parents often overlook the activities of kids and teens around the grill or fire.
Children might want to try out what they saw their mom do over the grill last year, or some method they saw on YouTube and this can cause some damages to either the food or the kids themselves.
When youths go camping, some of the camp staff do not know how to properly cook outdoors, so this makes supervision over younger youths difficult.
Most children under the age of 12, seem to want to do “their own” cooking and are not patient or cooperative enough to cook with others.
They are always on the move and will want to get done as fast as possible while hopping on to the next activity. Older kids —teenagers — are much better at rotating through cooking stations and/or group cooking. They’d like to hang out as the food is cooking.
Health and safety issues
While cooking outdoors, you will almost always be dealing with limited food preparation and washing facilities and utensils properly.
Washing hands and ensuring your cooking equipment/food items are clean is important to maintain hygiene. Improper management of perishable items can be threatening to health and safety, especially kids.
Rust on equipment such as grills and pots are very harmful because the rust particles can find their way into the smoked meat during preparation and can be very detrimental to health.
You’ll have to contend with many variables in outdoor cooking. Various contingencies may arise in the course of cooking outside your main kitchen.
These events would present a huge turn-off from the fun that was intended for the little family-and-friends get-together.
For instance, there could be sudden rain or just an uncontrollable wind. You could also experience inordinate bursts of fire due to dripping oil as well as charring your meat due to incompetence.
Furthermore, you may have a higher number of cooking groups than expected which may lead inadequate supply of briquettes.
All these culminate into unwanted contingencies that may spoil the fun and freshness of outdoor cooking.
Solutions to the Challenges of Outdoor Cooking
Though these are real challenges, they can also be easily prevented or controlled with some tips. Here are some important tips for getting the most out of your outdoor cooking exercise.
For backyard outdoor cooking, parents should always oversee the activities of kids and teens around the grill or fire.
Kids who want to try out what they saw their mom do over the grill last year, or some method they saw on YouTube should be given the chance to do so, but under close supervision.
For camps, training the trainers by teaching camp staff how to properly cook outdoors before camp so they can help supervise the campers is a great way to control the children and avoid damages.
Moreover, ensure to keep children below the age of 12 in check during the cooking process. Do this before you go on to other things so they can improve on their cooking expertise.
The solution to Health and Safety Issues
Cleaning or repainting of equipment such as grills and pots should be done regularly to avoid rust getting into the stake while roasting.
You must endeavor to keep perishable items cold and main the hotness in food for maximum safety. All outdoor cooking participants should be in close-toe shoes and no long hair should be left untied.
Make sure you do not wear any plastic clothing around a fire to avoid getting third-degree burns. Wear clean Aprons and turn any nylon cloth inside out as it can catch fire.
Moreover, utilize oven mitts or pot grips when you want to stir or handle a pot. And always endeavor to keep a first aid box near the outdoor kitchen. This would help fast attention to burn cuts and scrapes.
Keep a bucket of water or an effective fire extinguisher/fire blanket stand by to put out accidental fires.
Also, you should be looking out for the children to prevent them from stepping on hot coals. A whistle or bell may come in handy as an emergency signal to stop every on-going activity.
Ever thought of how you’d prepare the fire with briquettes? Do you think of transferring hot coals and the ground on which you’d lay the coals?
You may want to lay them down on double-folded foil layers which makes for an easy cleaning process.
Moreover, you can use metal troughs and fire pits to prepare coal. You may also use a shovel to move the coals to the cooking pots from the individual main fire.
Before starting an outdoor cooking trip, it’s best to calculate your every move to avoid mistakes and accidents.
There are numerous challenges one could face during outdoor cooking but these above are most common. We should always take caution when next we embark on an outdoor cooking exercise.
For every challenge there is a solution, so do not freak out when there is a little hiccup. Always be prepared and follow the proper guidelines for an amazing experience.