If I grill veggies and then grill meats (or vice versa) on the same surface, is heating and brushing the grill an adequate method to assure I haven't offended a vegan or vegetarian?
My response to this kind of question is always just ask, and if you absolutely can't, err on the side of caution.
I'm assuming here that you're talking about a pretty thorough heating and brushing. If you're leaving a bunch of meat stuff on the grill, that someone could conceivably taste, that's not good - you certainly shouldn't be risking food that actually has meat in it. But if it's essentially clean, with pretty much everything burned and scraped off, you're in a much better state.
I believe most of the vegetarians I know would be okay with that general plan. They're pretty pragmatic about their diets, they they know that some people eat meat and aren't going to have two grills, and they'll regard it as pretty similar to you using a pan that previously was used for meat but has since been washed. I would be sure I was doing everything that I could, thorough heating and brushing, separate (or washed) utensils, and so on, but I wouldn't be overly worried at that point.
But there are also people who keep to much stricter diets for all kinds of reasons (see Journeyman Geek's answer, for example), who would not be okay with this.
The only way you can tell the difference between the two is to ask, or to know someone well enough that you don't have to ask. This is really a pretty general principle when it comes to potentially strongly-held beliefs: if you want to do right by someone, don't expect to be able to use generalized categories to get the answer, assume you need their answer.
Depends on the person but typically... no.
I'm not sure how bad cross contamination is in terms of food safety, but grills are high heat, though you might not always heat the food through.
Many observant vegetarians however would minimally prefer separate dedicated utensils and cooking surfaces not used for meat. I personally wouldn't eat it, as a vegetarian (for religious reasons) and many ideological ones would probably consider it unacceptable.
If you want to be safe, don't.
Imagine if someone grilled a cat or dog, and then rinsed the grill surface to cook your burger. Would you be happy? This is how you have to think about it.
I am not vegan or vegetarian but used to live with someone who is. I always used separate pots and pans and utensils. Don't recall ever having a cook out or how I handled that. You can designate one of your grill sections to be non-meat and not have meat come into contact, and use a separate flipper, but your guest may not realize and assume you are mixing surfaces, etc. and will become stressed.
It is probably best to have an open discussion on how both of you can manage the situation to make everyone comfortable and respect everyone's lifestyle choices (including yours which is to eat meat).
Updated since I am getting some negative feedback my point is being misunderstood. Pick whatever food or substance you consider to be absolutely disgusting and would cringe if that was previously laying on top of the cooking surface that your food is now being cooked on.
There is a huge variety of motivations and feelings involved in the choice to not eat meat. If you're serving a large group, it would be best to choose the safest option and use separate surfaces and implements. However, if just serving some close friends, it may be worth asking them if this is suitable, assuming you are confident this question will not annoy them (it very well may!)
One answer has mentioned that vegetarians universally grow to find meat products disgusting. In my own experience, I do not have a disgust reaction to the thought of animal products, I simply feel strongly that I don't want to eat any.
One option not yet mentioned: if you're cooking in a single batch instead of a continuous supply, you could grill the veggies first, then the meats after. As Doc Brown would say, "It's perfect, you're just not thinking fourth-dimensionally!"
Just adding another dimension to this good question. Hope it helps someone.
Sometimes when Muslims can't get halal meat they tend to go for vegetarian meals. I can't speak for everyone, but in my opinion the sort of contaminations you described will make vegetarian meals doubtful for them.
I think this may be one of the reason why restaurants like McDonalds etc. don't describe their veggie/fish burger as halal, as they fry non-halal meat in the same oil.
The thing about offence is that you can never be absolutely certain. You can only do your best.
If the guests are your friends, you can ask them. If it's a commercial situation or similarly catering to unknown guests, you should have a separate surface though many (even most) fast food places don't.
You'll presumably be cooking for several people at once. If one wants halloumi and then another wants a burger what will you do? (I'd be the one going for halloumi and I'm not a vegetarian, just to confuse you). What about if you do a batch of sausages and they get snapped up so you'd like to do another but the veg kebabs are on there?
Having given this a little thought recently, I would use a second barbecue with its own tools for vegetarian food.
Most vegetarians will (strongly) dislike finding meat juices or the like on their food, because at a certain point there really kicks in a sense of disgust for meat, aside from the mental reasonings behind the choice of not eating it, so you should for sure strive to clean well the surface.
Most though will not be so fundamentalistic as to be repelled by the sheer fact that you used the same implements to cook meat, no matter how much you cleaned them before.
If you're running a restaurant thus you might consider using completely separate stuff to appeal to some more people, but in case you're cooking for friends most of the times a clean-up will be enough. For some people even that won't be necessary.
So in the end you'd better just ask to your friends.
I'm surprised I didn't see this already - you might use foil.
Packets of foil, with veggies and seasonings and butter sealed inside, should be able to be tossed on the grill with minimal possibility of cross contamination during cooking. Also, it will taste good. This technique can be used for making different kinds of food too, wetter or sloppier or fragile or with very different flavor profiles, and let them also be heated on the grill.
For the very careful, who might be worried about cross-contamination from the outside of the packet while it is being opened, two layers of foil (even just tossing a sheet on the grill under the packets) should be enough to keep the food quite safe.
An odd alternative is using some other wrapping - I've seen, for example, corn-on-the-cob grilled still in its husk, which is then peeled off to expose a nicely steamed cob (and the husk serves as an extended handle). You could probably try wrapping some other leaf, if you have a reason to prefer that over foil (like adding flavoring) - if the leaf is discarded, it should keep the food clean. If you have a reason to go looking for alternatives to foil, you might come up with all sorts of possibilities.
Alternately, you might try baking pans (disposable or even dedicated pans), though the thinner the pan the easier heat will transfer through. This might let you cook larger batches, or, well, wetter foods using a grill.
Of course, I would also second the previously mentioned options of letting the veggies be cooked first (aka separating through time), and, most specifically, asking the vegetarians in question what options they would be comfortable with.
You should ask your guests. It's the only way to be sure. Reasons for practicing vegetarianism vary widely, and span a gamut ranging from religious to ideological. Quite a few religions that promote vegetarianism have strict rules against the sort of cross-contamination you're worried about, while over on the other end there are plenty of vegetarians who won't balk at it, so long as you don't throw a steak on their plate.
I'll note, too, that while being a good host is admirable, it has its limits. As a committed omnivore, I would never think to demand that my vegetarian hosts make a special effort to include meat on my plate when I visit.
Simply ask. If you're met with what seem like excessive demands, explain that you're not able to accommodate them.
Same thing happened when I had Jewish friends over, among other non-Jewish friends. When I realized I had sausage and chicken to grill, I simply grilled the chicken first and then the pork.
So... grill the veggies first and then the meat?
Or may you want to just steam the meat and then fry it in a pan with some vegan type of grease, of course. Vegans tend to also criticize grilling as a source of cancer.
No. Do not use same grill. My wife has alpha gal , which is an allergy to red meat acquired from a tick bite. Cross contamination from cooking on the same grill and misunderstanding what “vegan” cooking means is prevalent. There are a “few” restaurants who’s chefs/owners understand and have a separate setup for your vegan cuisine. The outcome, from an allergy perspective is lots of pain and swelling for several days.
Now...that said. Your guest might not actually be vegan by definition, and would be ok, just ask.
And that concludes my presentation, on behalf of my wife,on why people are vegan, and true vegan cooking. I’ve included a link below, on the word above, as this is an allergy that has been in the limelight for several years but not promoted.
It depends on the person. I know of people who:
- Ask for gloves to be changed at subway because one of the previous diners could have ordered meat which would be touched.
- Vegetarians who do not eat in the same restaurant where meat is also server because though the stoves / grills may be different, it's tough to use different utensils such as knives.
- Vegetarians who don't eat when someone at the table eats meat since the smell is offensive to them.
- Vegetarians who don't live in the same street where there is a butcher shop.
- Vegetarians who don't visit some fishing camps or some bays because they cannot see fish fighting for their lives.
- Vegetarians who don't frequent some restaurants where the patron can choose the live creature before it gets cooked.
- Vegetarians who don't eat in places that serve exotic food (calf hearts, pig heads in the same shape as the swine etc)
I go for (1, 4) and don't care about the rest as it makes living in some countries tough. However I do sympathize with the people who follow the other practices.
If you find the above tough to relate to, think of cuisines where the animal is served and eaten alive. It's not too uncommon.
I'm vegetarian and I've participated in plenty of barbecues. My experience is that hosts usually either don't mention the topic or inform me (rather than ask) that they're putting meat on the same grill as veggies. And I'm perfectly fine with that! So my answer to your question is: to be on the polite side, you might ask. However, don't feel pressured to prepare a completely separate meal, especially if you clean the grill as you mentioned. If your guests are extremely strict, they should reach out to you BEFORE the party, as people with severe allergies tend to do. And preferably bring some food with them. Enjoy your day!