It’s Memorial Day weekend: Time to honor our country and celebrate the official kick-off of summertime! The pools are open, the weather’s warming up, and, if you’re like me, it’s time to get together with friends and family and throw something yummy on the grill.
Whether you prefer briquettes, wood planks, or propane, grilling can be a healthy way to prepare meats, fish, chicken, seafood, and vegetables. A few safe-food handling practices can help you create amazing food and happy memories.
Here are some grilling tips from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service’s Barbecue and Food Safety Fact Sheet:
- Keep all perishable foods cold by refrigerating them within two hours—within one hour when the temperature is over 90° F.
- Store all raw meat in leak-proof plastic bags to keep juices from contaminating other groceries in your shopping cart and grocery bag, as well as your refrigerator, cooler, and counter-top.
- Wash your hands before and after handling perishable foods. Wash all plates and utensils with hot, soapy water or run them through the dishwasher.
- Always thaw and marinate meat in the refrigerator, not on the counter. If you thaw food in the microwave, it should go on the grill immediately afterward.
- Transport raw meat and other perishables in a well-insulated cooler that keeps them at 40° F or below.
- Cook meat thoroughly and all at once to kill harmful bacteria.
- Use separate platters and utensils for raw and cooked meat. Keep extra cooked meat in a warming tray or oven at 200° F until served, and refrigerate leftovers right away in shallow containers.
- Boil used marinade thoroughly before putting it on cooked meats.
So, what will you be grilling this weekend?