The weather is warming up, the flowers are coming out, and daylight is around much longer at night. All of these things mean one thing: time to start grilling again! Having a barbecue or cookout is a wonderful way to do a majority of your cooking because it is a healthy preparation method and leaves little to no cleanup in the kitchen!
However, there can be some safety concerns when it comes to grilling, so read below to make sure you are informed.
Follow Proper Meat Temperatures
One of the most common reasons for food poisoning is not cooking your meat to the proper temperature. In fact, only 23% of Americans say they use a meat thermometer. This is the easiest and best way to make sure you are cooking your meat to the proper temperature. Here are the food safety temperature guidelines for different types of meat:
- Chicken: 165 degrees
- Pork: 145 degrees
- Hamburgers: 160 degrees
- Steak: 145 degrees
- Bratwurst: 160 degrees
- Fish: 145 degrees
- Leftovers: 165 degrees
Use Condiments and Marinades Safely
Another thing to be cautious about is condiment safety. Always be sure to marinate meat in the refrigerator vs. sitting out on a counter or out by the grill. If you are reusing the sauce used on raw meats, bring it to a boil before using it on cooked meats; or throw it away to prevent cross-contamination. Condiments should not be left sitting out for more than 2 hours (1 hour if the temperature is above 90 degrees).
Don’t Reuse Cutting Boards and Platters
Something that might happen if you are in a hurry (or trying to cut down on dirty dishes) is to use the same cutting board or platter that had the raw meat on it for chopping veggies, or to put the cooked meat back on it. This can definitely be a recipe for disaster, so be sure to grab a different platter or cutting board, or clean the original one thoroughly with hot soapy water before using again.
Wash Hands and Utensils
Finally, don’t forget about those tools and your hands! This is where a lot of bacteria from the raw meat can reside. Thoroughly wash your grilling utensils once they have come in contact with the raw meat instead of just hanging them up on the side of the grill. Also, be sure to wash your hands and the grill handle that you touch with your hands after handling the raw meat.
Taking these small extra steps can guarantee a spring and summer filled with delicious (and safe) foods from the grill! And here are some tips for healthy eating at your next barbecue.
This blog was written by Angie Mitchell, RD, Wellness Coordinator. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.