It's grilling season! The nice weather is here and pool parties, picnics and backyard barbeques are in full swing. But during these barbeques and get-togethers, are you practicing food safety? If not, you could seriously be putting yourself and your guests at risk of potentially fatal diseases.
Here is a step-by-step guide to follow during your next cookout to ensure you are practicing safe cooking!:
When shopping for meats for your barbeque, make sure the meat you are purchasing is cold and the plastic has not been torn. Buy fresh meats last on your shopping trip and separate raw meats from other foods in your cart. Make sure you or the cashier put the meat you have bought into a separate bag to avoid the meat from leaking on fresh produce or your other purchases.
When thawing any frozen meat, make sure it is completely thawed before cooking it. Take the meat out of the freezer the night before and let it thaw in your fridge in a sealed package submerged in cold water.
Be sure to always use a separate cutting board and knife for fruits and vegetables and a separate cutting board and knife for raw meats. Make sure that any utensils that have touched raw meat never touch foods that plan on staying raw such as fruits and vegetables.
Planning on using that marinade as a BBQ sauce to put on the table? Well make sure you boil it first! That marinade has been all over that raw chicken and now it is completely contaminated with harmful bacteria. But that doesn't mean you need to throw it out. Simply put the marinade in a pot on the stove and bring it to a rapid boil for about 10 minutes.
Meat and poultry should be cooked to a safe temperature to destroy any harmful bacteria. The color of meat and poultry is NOT a good indicator that meat is safe. Make sure you always use a meat thermometer.
Safe Internal Temperatures:
Whole poultry: 165 °F
Poultry breasts: 165 °F
Ground poultry: 165 °F
Ground meats: 160 °F
Beef, pork, lamb, and veal (steaks, roasts and chops): 145 °F and allow to rest for 3 minutes
After cooking meats, DO NOT put the cooked meat back on the platter that the meat was on when it was raw. This could easily transfer harmful bacteria that was on the raw meat to the cooked meat.
Once the meat has finished cooking and has been put on a clean plate, keep food warm until it is served! This means at around 140 °F or warmer.
When The Food is Served
Be sure not to leave the food out for more than 2 hours after being served. In really hot weather, food should never sit out for more an 1 hour. Discard any food that has been left out for longer than 2 hours. Once everyone has gotten their food and has stopped eating, start by bringing the cooked foods inside and refrigerating them immediately. If anyone wants seconds, they can just head to the fridge and heat up some leftovers!
Tips for Safe Picnicking
Heading on a romantic picnic or just a simple family outing? Make sure that any cooked or raw meats (if you plan on grilling at the site) are put on ice packs in the picnic basket. Raw meats should be placed on a surface in your picnic basket that is at least 40 °F. An insulated cooler with a sufficient amount of ice packs or ice cubes is a good idea.