How to Grill Safely
Barbecue season offers lots of opportunities for outdoor fun with family and friends. But these warm weather events also present opportunities for foodborne bacteria to thrive. As food heats up in summer temperatures, bacteria multiply rapidly.
Follow these steps for a safe and enjoyable grilling season:
Wash your hands with soap before and after handling raw meat, poultry, and seafood. Wash work surfaces and utensils with hot, soapy water before and after cooking.
- Check Your Grill and Tools
Use a moist cloth or paper towel to clean the grill surface before cooking. If you use a wire bristle brush, thoroughly inspect the grill’s surface before cooking. Wire bristles from grill cleaning brushes may dislodge and stick into food on the grill.
- Don’t Cross-Contaminate
Throw out marinades and sauces that have touched raw meat juices, which can spread germs to cooked foods. Use clean utensils and a clean plate to remove cooked meat from the grill. Do not place cooked meat back on a plate that held raw meat.
Use a food thermometer to ensure meat is cooked hot enough to kill harmful germs. When smoking, keep temperatures inside the smoker at 225°F to 300°F to keep meat at a safe internal temperature while it cooks.
- When grilling, cook to:
145°F—whole cuts of beef, pork, lamb, and veal (then allow the meat to rest for 3 minutes before carving or eating)
145°F—fish (or cook until the flesh is opaque and separates easily with a fork)
160°F—hamburgers and other ground beef
165°F—all poultry and pre-cooked meats, like hot dogs
- After grilling, keep food hot:
140°F or warmer—until it’s served
Divide leftovers into small portions and place in covered, shallow containers. Put in freezer or fridge within 2 hours of cooking (1 hour if above 90°F outside). It is okay to put small portions of hot food in the refrigerator since they will chill faster.
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