Common sense says you need to check that your barbecue is in good working order, on a flat site away from a hedge or shed and not a magnet for unsupervised children and pets.
Never leave it unattended. If using a charcoal barbecue, invest in an Outback Charcoal Starter to get it going, never have petrol anywhere near, and put only cold ashes in the bin. With a gas barbecue, make sure the regulator tap is off before changing a cylinder, which should be done outdoors, and brush soapy water over pipe work and joints to check for bubbles from leaks.
Use a sharp knife to check juices are running clear and meat is done, while press fish flesh with a fork to check flakes come apart – indicating it’s ready. Always allow a grilled steak or roasted joint to rest in foil on the top rack for about five minutes to keep it juicy and tender.
Unless you’ve invested in a piece of well-hung organic meat, which needs only a brushing of oil and some sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, then everything else will benefit from a marinade. With the exception of shellfish, marinade overnight when possible, do not use salt, lemon or lime juice in a marinade for longer than two hours, and avoid pineapple juice.
To avoid a smoking barbecue avoid using extra virgin olive oil in the marinade – save it for the sauce and salad – and marinade in a strong plastic bag before emptying into a glass or stainless steel container. Always use a separate container or plate for marinades and cooked dishes.