Summer is the season to fire up the grill. While grilling outdoors is great, cooking outside the kitchen can bring greater risk of food contamination. Here are five tips to help keep your food safe this summer.
- Keep your grill clean. Clean it before and after grilling. If you’re grilling different types of meat, clean it between types as well. Be careful if using a wire-bristle brush, because bristles can dislodge and stick to the grill surface.
- Refrigerate. Don’t thaw meat at room temperature—always allow time to thaw under refrigeration—and do not cook frozen meat on the grill unless the package instructions allow it. Marinate meats in the refrigerator, never at room temperature. Only take meat out of the fridge or cooler when it can be placed immediately on the grill and refrigerate leftovers promptly.
- Separate. Keep different types of meat separate from each other before grilling. Use different platters and utensils for handling raw and cooked meat unless they are fully cleaned first.
- Don’t rinse. Contrary to traditional wisdom, rinsing meat does little to remove bacteria and spray from rinsing may spread contamination to surrounding surfaces. If needed, blot meat with paper towels and discard them. Grilling to the proper temperature kills any bacteria.
- Watch the temperature. Color of meat is not a good indicator of safety. Use a thermometer to ensure food is cooked to the proper temperature for the type. Special grilling thermometers are a wise investment because they allow you to monitor temperatures without raising the lid of the grill. Keep properly cooked food at 140 degrees or warmer until served.
Food safety is crucial whenever cooking, not just in the kitchen. Be sure you and your guests avoid a case of food poisoning by following these safe grilling tips.