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The Best Barbecue Starts with Food Safety

April 23, 2011 by  

Click Author Nickname for Bio > homebbq

Cooking barbecue, or grilling has become a year round activity, according to HPBA more than 56% of Americans say they are cooking outdoors year round. So it’s important to follow food safety guidelines to prevent harmful bacteria from multiplying and causing food borne illness. Use these simple guidelines from the USDA for cooking food safely.

From the Store: Go Home first

When shopping, buy cold food like meat and poultry last, just before your ready to checkout.  Separate meat and poultry from other food in your shopping cart. To prevent cross-contamination (this can happen when raw meat or poultry juices drip on other food), put packages of raw meat and poultry into plastic bags.

Load meat and poultry into the coolest part of your vehicle, and take your groceries straight home. If your drive is more than 30-minutes away, bring a cooler with ice and place perishable food in it for the trip.

When you get home, place meat and poultry in the refrigerator immediately. Freeze poultry and ground meat that won’t be used in 1 or 2 days; freeze other meat within 4 to 5 days.

Defrost Safely

Completely defrost meat and poultry before grilling or placing in the smoker, so it cooks more evenly. Use the refrigerator for slow, safe thawing or thaw sealed packages in cold water (water should changed every 30 minutes). You can use the microwave to defrost, if the food will be cooked immediately.

Marinating

Meat and poultry can be marinated for several hours or days to tenderize or add flavor. Marinate food in the refrigerator, or on ice in a cooler, not on a counter. If some of the marinade is to be used as a sauce on the cooked food, reserve a portion of the marinade before putting raw meat and poultry in it. However, if the marinade used on raw meat or poultry is to be reused, make sure to let it come to a boil first to destroy any harmful bacteria.

Transporting

When carrying food to another location, keep it cold to minimize bacterial growth. Use an insulated cooler with sufficient ice or ice packs to keep the food at 40 °F or below. Pack food right from the refrigerator into the cooler immediately before leaving home. Keep the cooler in the coolest part of the car.

Keep Cold Food Cold

Keep meat and poultry refrigerated until ready to use. Only take out the meat and poultry that will immediately be placed on the grill.

When using a cooler, keep it out of the direct sun by placing it in the shade or shelter. Avoid opening the lid Pokies too Pokies often, which lets cold air out and warm air in. Pack beverages in one cooler and perishables in a separate cooler.

Keep Everything Clean

Be sure there are plenty of clean utensils and platters. To prevent food borne illness, don’t use the same platter and utensils for raw and cooked meat and poultry. Harmful bacteria present in raw meat and poultry and their juices can contaminate safely cooked food.

If you’re eating away from home, find out if there’s a source of clean water. If not, bring water for preparation and cleaning. Or pack clean cloths, and wet towelettes for cleaning surfaces and hands.

Cook Thoroughly

Cook food to a safe internal temperature to destroy harmful bacteria. Meat and poultry cooked on a grill often browns very fast on the outside. Use a food thermometer to be sure the food has reached a safe internal temperature. Whole poultry should reach 165 °F; breasts, 165 °F. Hamburgers made of ground beef should reach 160 °F; ground poultry, 165 °F. Beef, veal, and lamb steaks, roasts and chops can be cooked to 145 °F. All cuts of pork should reach 160 °F.

NEVER partially grill meat or poultry and finish cooking later.

Reheating

When reheating fully cooked meats on the grill, heat to 165 °F .

Keep Hot Food Hot

After cooking meat and poultry on the grill; keep it hot until served – at 140 °F or warmer.

Keep cooked meats hot by setting them to the side of the grill rack, not directly over the coals where they could overcook. At home, the cooked meat can be kept hot in a warm oven (approximately 200 °F), in a chafing dish or slow cooker, or on a warming tray.

Serving the Food

When taking food off the grill, use a clean platter. Don’t put cooked food on the same platter that held raw meat or poultry. Any harmful bacteria present in the raw meat juices could contaminate safely cooked food. In hot weather (90 °F and above), food should never sit out for more than 1 hour.

Leftovers

refrigerate any leftovers promptly in shallow containers. Discard any food left out more than 2 hours (1 hour if temperatures are above 90 °F).

Wash Hands Frequently

When handling food, it is very important to wash your hands frequently, after almost any task. When in doubt, wash your hands.

If you follow, and stick to the above guidelines you will keep your guests safe, from Food Borne Illness.

For more in depth food handling information, please visit the USDA website, here is a direct link to Food Handling Guidelines; http://www.fsis.usda.gov/factsheets/basics_for_handling_food_safely/index.asp

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