May 29, 2017 — Here are a few tips on how to safely kick off your summer BBQ season after observing the National Memorial Day Remembrance at 3 p.m.
Memorial Day is when Americans gather together to honor the servicemen and women who gave their lives for freedom. The last thing you want is someone getting sick or injured at your BBQ.
Grill brush-bristle injuries are a big problem on Memorial Day Weekend, as millions of people scrape off last season’s hot dogs. If just one tiny wire gets stuck on the grill, it can end up in your food and cause a life-threatening medical emergency.
Another problem is food poisoning. Food safety starts at the grocery store. Bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella thrive in warm temperatures, so shop for your meat last and put it in a cooler in your car to keep it at 40ºF until you get home and put it in the fridge.
It is also essential to avoid cross-contamination. When you are at the store, use a plastic bag to separate meat from other items in your cart. Disease-causing bacteria can survive in many places in your kitchen. Make sure to disinfect cutting boards, countertops, knives, and utensils, and throw away any marinates or sauces with raw meat juice.
Cooking meat to the proper internal temperature can kill disease-causing bacteria. Here are the correct temperatures for most meats:
- 145ºF to 170ºF — Whole cuts of beef, pork, lamb, or veal (rest-time of three minutes)
- 145ºF — Fish should be grilled until flesh is opaque and separates easily with a fork.
- 160ºF — Hamburgers and ground meat
- 165ºF — Chicken and poultry
Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature and let the meat rest when you take it off the grill. The internal temperature will stay constant or rise slightly for a few minutes, destroying bacteria without over-cooking the meat.
Cooked meat should also be refrigerated within 2 hours, or 1 hour if the outdoor temperature is over 90ºF. Save the leftovers by dividing them into smaller portions and storing them in shallow containers in the refrigerator.
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