7 Tips for Summer Grilling and Food Safety

Category: Food Tips • June 11, 2019

Grilling.  I’m terrible at it, but I LOVE grilled food!   Anyone who can figure out how to light the darn thing without burning themselves or their eyebrows off gets a gold star in my book.  Thankfully I have many friends and family members who are willing to grill for me! Thank you to those saintly humans!

On a more serious note, I thought I would post a friendly reminder about grilling and food safety.  It’s getting warm outside and we want to keep our food fresh at BBQ’s and picnics. You can read my previous post about picnic season tips here.  Before the food hits the table to be served, here’s 7 tips on how to practice food safety while grilling (and cooking indoors!)

  1. Always wash your hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds before handling food.  It may sound like a no-brainer, but the CDC reports hand washing as the number-one way to fight food-borne illness.
  2. Keep marinating foods in the refrigerator, not on the counter.
  3. Do not wash raw meats. Washing is not necessary to “remove” bacteria, and in fact washing can cross-contaminate other items in the kitchen.
  4. Pre-heat the grill to the full desired temperature before cooking.  Meats may not reach proper internal cooking temperatures during the pre-heat phase.  Wait until the grill is up to temp.
  5. To cook meats to safe internal temperatures, use a food thermometer.  Food thermometers usually have all of the cooking temperatures right on them!  Insert the thermometer half-way into the thickest part of the meat away from the bone or fat to get an accurate reading.
         -beef, lamb, veal steak or roasts: 145 degrees for medium rare, and 160 degrees for medium
         -poultry: at least 165 degrees
         – fish: 145 degrees or when fish is opaque and pearly
         – shrimp, lobster, crab: meat is opaque and pearly
         -clams, oysters, mussels: when the shell opens
  6. Use a clean plate and utensils to put cooked food on. Do not use the plate that the raw meat was on or the utensil you used to grab it.
  7. Remember the 2-hour max limit  – foods left at room temperature/out of the fridge should be put back into the fridge before 2 hours to avoid food-borne illness.

Grilling is a great way to spend time with friends and family, so keep these tips in mind when grilling to keep the party going and avoid illness!