Debugging the Barbeque

Have you debugged your BBQ this season?Finally the hot weather is upon us. Just when I was beginning to think summer would never arrive it turned up like a long lost friend.

On Monday I shivered in a fleece. On Tuesday the skies turned from their usual shade of soggy grey flannel to a glorious blue hue. Today the sun blazes like a beacon of hope for long, lazy summer days in the garden.

Before the rain came again I decided it was time for a barbeque, which demanded the first BBQ clean of the season. I dug my flip flops from the back of the cupboard and headed to the garden to take a peek at the barbeque. After whipping away its winter coat I was in horror and awe at the insects and spiders. Black millipedes scattered, eager to find another undisturbed, dark, dank hiding place. Small silver trails glittered in the sunlight. The knobs were covered in cobwebs. On the flat grill lay a cluster of European Brown Snails. Slugs snoozed on the gas bottle. The faux charcoal bricks beneath the grill were decorated with a furry mould (Are you supposed to clean faux charcoal bricks? If so – what with and how?)

Peering closely at the grill I could see evidence of rodents. The barbeque cover had been vandalised, most likely by mice. Apart from the local big fat rat, most of the rats in the area stick close to the river. When my last home backed onto the river it was common to see them climbing from their rat holes on the rural side of the river and swim across to my side where all the houses were. Lots of residents, including my pre-Rentokil educated self, would feed the ducks, or leave bird feed out. This turned into an all-you-can-eat buffet for rats who grew bolder and bolder. Soon the rats would be eating beef bourguignon straight from the casserole dish on the hob. A rat catcher was called in and the rats retreated.

Anyway, back to the horror of sanitising the barbeque. I admit, I was temped to deposit the metal heap of bacteria ridden nastiness and purchase a new one, but then that’s a) not good for the environment b) will plunge me in an unnecessary cycle of never ending seasonal barbeque purchasing and c) a bit of cleaning never hurt anyone.

Armed with anti-bacterial wipes, metal grill brush specially purchased for the occasion ( I highly recommend) and de-greasing spray I spritzed scrubbed, scraped and chiseled. The grills were plunged into boiling water straight from the kettle and left to soak for 20 minutes with a good squirt of washing-up liquid,  then reunited with the barbeque with the flame on a high heat to kill any lingering bacteria. All other parts of the barbeque were given a good scrub and then wiped down with anti-bacterial wipes. The mouse chewed cover is in the bin as it’s highly likely to be soaked in mouse urine.

It’s been 24 hours since I’ve eaten the marinated pork I grilled on the barbeque and I feel fine. No signs of nausea or an upset tummy. Fingers crossed I’ll make it through the next 24 hours…

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