7 tips for barbecuing in Edinburgh’s green spaces

There is rarely anything better on a sunny day than heading to the nearest park with a disposable barbecue in tow ready to cook up a storm.

Wednesday, 22nd May 2019, 4:44 pm
An overflowing bin on the Meadows full of disposable barbecues earlier this year (Photo: Ian Georgeson)

Since Edinburgh is blessed with so many beautiful parks, it is also important to know how to use a barbecue safely so you don’t damage you or the park.

Here are seven things you need to know before you enjoy a barbecue in Edinburgh.

Elevate your barbecue

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Damage from a disposable barbecue on the Meadows in May 2019 (Photo: Greg Macvean)

If you know you are heading to somewhere like the Meadows, make sure you bring something to put your barbecue on.

Using the grass as the base for your barbecue increases the risk of an accidental fire, and can also lead to serious damage, leaving behind burnt patches in the grass.

Bring along something you know will keep the barbecue off the grass such as a metal tray or - if you are desperate - a saucepan.

Cook once the flames have died down

Everyone gets impatient when waiting for barbecued food to be ready, as it often takes longer than conventional cooking.

However, the best barbecued food is cooked over glowing hot coal rather than on flames. Waiting for them to die down helps your tastebuds and limits the risk of sparks and hot fat causing problems on potentially dry grass.

Bring along something to extinguish the flames

We’re not talking about a fire blanket or a fire extinguisher, but a large bottle of water or a small bag of sand is a must if you want to ensure your barbecue is fully extinguished.

You can pour one or the other on top of the coals once you have finished cooking, helping to put out any remaining flames or reduce the heat.

Never bin your barbecue

Many bin fires in summer start because people throw away their barbecues while they are still hot.

It is your responsibility to wait until the coals are cool enough to be disposed of, so unless you are certain, never bin a barbecue that might be hot.

Never leave your barbecue unattended

Do not, under any circumstances, leave your barbecue unattended.

They can easily start a fire on dry grass if you are not careful, and you do not want to be responsible for the Meadows burning to a crisp in July.

If you do accidentally start a fire, call 999 rather than attempting to extinguish it yourself.

Pick the quieter spots

Everyone in Edinburgh knows about the Meadows and Inverleith Park, and in the summer they will be full to the brim with people looking to do exactly the same as you.

However, the capital is full of lesser known parks and - provided you are responsible with your barbecue - you could end up with one to yourself if you pick wisely.

Check if there is a barbecue site

Some of Edinburgh’s bigger parks have designated places where you can use a barbecue. These are the perfect places to barbecue, as you can be safe in the knowledge you will not be asked to leave.

Edinburgh Council do state that they prohibit lighting barbecues in areas that are likely to burn or scorch and cause nuisance to other park users.

You can also be fined if you leave behind damage or litter.