Summer is all about firing up the grill and getting together with friends and family. Practice safe grilling and make meals enjoyable for everyone.
Safe Grilling Tip #1: Pre-grilling temperature.
When grilling at home, pre-grilling temperature isn’t an issue. But when you’re packing food up to grill elsewhere, it’s important. Keep cold foods cold. Put plenty of ice in the cooler. There are coolers available now that can maintain a temperature of 40 degrees for as long as five days. Chilled food should be less than 40 degrees. Pack a thermometer to check food temperature.
Safe Grilling Tip #2: Internal temperature.
Most people fail to use a thermometer to gauge internal temperature of meat. While it’s easy to cook meat until juices run clear or until it looks done, using a thermometer is the only way to measure internal temperature. Yes, it’s another thing to do. But keeping family and friends safe from food-related illnesses make it worth the trouble.
Internal meat temperatures: Steaks and chops: 145 degrees for medium-rare, 160 degrees for medium and 170 degrees for well done. Venison and pork: 160 degrees for medium and 170 degrees for well done.
Poultry should be cooked to a temperature of 180 degrees. Poultry breasts should be cooked to 170 degrees. Burgers and ground meat: 160 degrees. Chicken and turkey to 165 degrees.
Safe Grilling Tip #3: Cross Contamination
Cross-contamination has been at the heart of many restaurant food poisoning episodes. Always wash hands before and after handling foods, especially raw meat. Don’t allow cooked meat to come in contact with utensils or serving platters that have held uncooked meats.
Don’t re-use the platter that’s been in contact with raw meat until it’s been thoroughly washed. Don’t use left- over marinade unless it’s been boiled for five minutes. Wipe food preparation surfaces before, during and after use with an antibacterial formula. Keep antibacterial sprays and wipes in the car and boat to make it easier to keep hands and utensils clean when away from home.
Safe Grilling Tip #4: Serving Temperature
Hot food should be served hot and cold food should be served cold. Grilled meats can be kept inside an insulated container or pushed to one side of the grill, away from the flame and where they won’t continue to cook, until serving time. Wrapping meat in foil before placing it in the insulated containter helps hold heat.
Don’t keep cold foods at room temperature for longer than 2 hours. On hotter days, when the temperature exceeds 90 degrees, shorten that to one hour. Consider nesting cold food containers inside larger containers filled with ice. The food stays deliciously cold longer and holds a safer temperature longer.
Make grilling a tasty and healthy experience by practicing food safety.