One of the best ways to celebrate summer is enjoying a great barbecue. Before you fire up the grill, take a moment to follow these tips for a safe and fun cookout.
FOOD PREP MATTERS
Be sure to keep your meat, seafood, and poultry separated from each other and from other foods to avoid cross-contamination.
Keep your meat products refrigerated until the grill is ready, and if you are bringing these savory delights to the party, keep them in a cooler at as close to 40o Fahrenheit as possible.
Toss out marinades or sauces which have touched raw meat juices, and use clean utensils and a clean plate to remove foods from the grill.
KEEP IT CLEAN, KEEP IT MEAN
Wash your hands with soap and water, both before and after handling raw meat.
Be sure to clean surfaces and grilling utensils before and after they are touched by any foods.
Wipe down grill surfaces with a damp cloth prior to using and if cleaning with a wire brush, inspect the cooking surface to ensure no bristles have become dislodged and are at risk of touching the food.
For gas grills, check the tubes that lead into the burner for any blockage from insects, spiders, or food grease. Blockages can be cleared with a pipe cleaner or wire.
Check hoses for cracking, brittleness, holes, or leaks.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to check for gas leaks. If you detect a leak, turn off the gas immediately and do not attempt to light it until the leak is fixed.
Charcoal produces carbon monoxide when it is burned, which can accumulate into toxic levels if enclosed.
Never use charcoal grills inside homes, tents, vehicles, or campers, even if there is ventilation.
THE HEAT IS ON
Meat, seafood, and poultry should be cooked until they reach temperatures hot enough to kill any harmful germs.
Use a meat thermometer for accurately checking temperatures.
Follow these guidelines for fully cooked meats:
Fish – 145o
Whole cuts of beef, pork, lamb, and veal – 145o
Hamburgers and other ground beef – 165o
Poultry and pre-cooked meats such as hotdogs – 165o
Leftovers should be placed in the refrigerator or freezer in covered containers within two hours of cooking for safe keeping.
And the most important part of a great barbecue — have fun!
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