How to Avoid BBQ Blues
Barbequing is a great way to spend time with friends, food, and nature! But we need to be just as careful when cooking outside as we are when cooking inside. In fact there are a few different issues to keep in mind outdoors – contamination from pests for example (flies carry many diseases).
First, be sure to wash your hands before beginning food prep. Wash your food prep and cooking surfaces and sanitize them if you can with a mild bleach solution or sanitizer wipes.
An important thing to remember when handling and cooking meat on the grill is the prevention of cross contamination. Always use separate plates for raw and cooked meats. The juices from raw meat can contain dangerous bacteria. If you’re using a marinade for your meat, never place your cooked meat back into that marinade – UNLESS, you thoroughly cook the marinade first.
Carefully follow cooking temperatures for meat. Refer to cooking charts, but cook hamburgers to 155 (that’s medium well to well done). Never serve undercooked hamburger to children or elderly people because of the risk of E. coli, which can be life-threatening. Poultry should reach at least 165 degrees. Use a thermometer to be sure. Refer to a handy chart of safe cooking temps: https://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/mintemp.html
Always wash your produce before using it. Cover food to prevent flies from landing on it if you can. Put leftovers back in the refrigerator as quickly as possible. The warmer temperatures outside will allow bacteria to grow quickly. If food has not been consumed or put away within one hour, it should be tossed.
If you’re using a big tub of ice to chill drinks, don’t use that same ice for drinking. The outsides of cans and bottles are not clean! Have a separate bag or container of ice for drinks only.
Now, go grill, and be happy! It’s summer!