Memorial Weekend starts the picnic and grilling season for most of us. From hamburgers to steaks to chicken or ribs, nothing is safe from the flames.
But we need to do it right to keep it safe for everyone.
Wash your hands
That goes without saying, you have to keep clean around food and that includes your hands. But do you wash them between handling different types of meat? Put the chicken on, then wash your hands before picking up the burgers or ribs. Bacteria can spread easily between as you touch the different meats without washing. And use a different cutting board or wash the cutting board for each type of meat.
Use a thermometer
Good chefs keep a meat thermometer nearby. That chop may look done, but is it? Here are the three temperatures you should remember:
- 145 degrees Fahrenheit for steaks, roasts, chops, fish, and other whole cuts of meat
- 160 F for ground meat, including beef, pork, and lamb
- 165 F for poultry
To read the temperature accurately, put the point of the thermometer into the center of the meat but never touching the bone. Thinner cuts, like burgers, insert it from the side.
Keep meat cold
Keep your meat in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook it. Room temperature is an invitation for bacteria to form. If you need to bring it out, due to the distance of the grill and your fridge, don’t let it sit out for more than 30 minutes.
Keep hot and cold cold
Many grills have a warming rack where you can keep those extra burgers until they are eaten. I make an ice tray, but filling a cake pan with water, then freezing it days before the picnic. Place the salad bowls on top of the ice pan. Any cold foods will stay cold but won’t soggy.
And, of course, promptly move the leftovers to the fridge so they will stay good. Just plan to eat them within 2 or 3 days.
So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get grillin’ and enjoy ourselves this summer.