This summer, many of us will head outside and throw something delicious on the grill, whether it’s a juicy steak, hot dogs, or even summer vegetables. Before you get the fire started, consider these safety tips so you can celebrate grilling season without a follow-up trip to see your doctor.
First things first: brush up on your food safety. Make sure you have two sets of utensils to use while grilling; one set for raw meats and a second set for after it’s cooked. Grabbing your perfectly-seared steak with the same tongs you used to place the raw meat on the grill could mean contaminating your meal.
You’ll also need a good meat thermometer. It’s the only way to make sure everything is cooked to the right temperature – checking the color of the meat or the juices is not a reliable method to ensure your food is done.
Wondering what temperature you need to reach before calling everyone to the picnic table? Check out this chart from homefoodsafety.org:
If you like to use a marinade when you cook on the grill (first of all – yum!), be sure to marinate the meat in the refrigerator and don’t reuse the marinade once it’s been in contact with raw meat. If you’d rather brush on your marinade, be careful not to use the same brush on raw and cooked meat.
You’re definitely going to want some sides with your burgers, chicken and hot dogs – right? Keep food safety in mind for those items, too. Don’t leave food, even if it’s fully cooked, out of the refrigerator (or at least a cooler) for extended periods of time. Leftovers need to be refrigerated within about two hours, or one hour if it’s hot (≥90˚F) outside.
No matter how delicious your leftovers are, be sure to use them within two or three days. Anything that’s still hanging out in the refrigerator after that point shouldn’t be eaten, even if it “looks fine”.