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A Guide to Food Manufacturers
Barbecued Meat

Barbecued meat is the meat cooked by dry heat method, like grilling and roasting. Two types of barbecued meat, namely dried meat and Cantonese style barbecued meat called "Siu Mei", are commonly sold in Hong Kong.

Recent studies show that a cancer-causing compound, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), can be produced when barbecued meat is not processed properly. For example, meat oil dripping onto the heat source generates PAHs that will be deposited on the meat surface. Incomplete combustion of fuel, like charcoal or wood, may be another mechanism of PAH formation. The following are some known factors increasing the level of PAHs in barbecued food -

  • Putting food too close to the heat source;
  • High fat content of food;
  • High temperature used;
  • Long duration of cooking;
  • Large amount of oil dripping; and
  • Type of fuel used, like charcoal or wood.

In order to enhance food safety, food manufacturers should consider the following advices when making barbecued meat -

Selection of cooking method and temperature

  • Use gas grilling or electric oven roasting instead of charcoal grilling
  • Use lower temperatures to achieve grilling effect

Preparation before barbecuing

  • Clean the racks, trays or hooks thoroughly before and after barbecuing to prevent contamination from burnt substances stuck on the utensils
  • Defrost frozen meat completely to avoid undercooking of the interior
  • Choose lean meat instead of meat with high-fat content
  • Trim visible fat and remove skin, if possible, to reduce the amount of oil dripped onto the heat source
  • Pre-cook meats by microwave oven or boiling to reduce the cooking time required for barbecuing


  • Avoid putting meat immediately above the heat source to prevent direct contact of food with the heat source and dripping onto the heat source
  • Start barbecuing the meat only when the temperature of heat source is high enough to reduce cooking time
  • Put dripping-pan in heating chamber to avoid oil dripped onto the heat source
  • Take precaution to avoid dripping onto heat source if dripping-pan is not available
  • Cook meat thoroughly with core temperature of 75 oC or above for at least 30 seconds
  • Avoid charring
  • Remove any burnt portions before serving


For related information, please contact the Communication Resource Unit.
Tel.: 23816096
Address: 8-F, Fa Yuen Street Municipal Services Building,
123A Fa Yuen Street, Mong Kok, Kowloon.

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2009 copyright logo | Important notices Last Revision Date : 18-08-2009