6 Simple Steps for Safe Grilling
If you have a grill, you probably love firing it up in the summer. Just remember these basic grilling tips to prevent foodborne illness.
Summer and grilling go hand-in-hand. But summer is also a prime time for food poisoning—the bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses multiply faster in warm weather and cooking outdoors poses more challenges for handling food safely.
These six simple steps can help protect you, your family, and hungry guests from a nasty bout of food poisoning the next time you fire up the grill:
1. Start with a clean grill
Always remove charred food from the grill before cooking. This reduces the risk that fresh foods will be exposed to bacteria.
Keep meat, poultry, and fish in the fridge until you're ready to grill. Then only take out what you'll cook right away.
Don't use the same platter, cutting board, or utensils for raw and cooked foods. For example, use one plate for bringing raw meat, poultry, or fish to the grill and a different one for taking cooked food off the grill. That way bacteria in raw food and its juices can't contaminate cooked food.
Related: Grilled Bruschetta Chicken
4. Use a food thermometer
A food thermometer ensures that you're cooking meat, poultry, and fish to a high enough temperature to kill bacteria. Cook:
• Whole cuts of red meat, like beef and lamb, to 145 degrees, and then let it rest for three minutes before serving.
• Fish to 145 degrees.
• Hamburgers and other ground beef to 160 degrees.
• Poultry to 165 degrees.
5. Mind your marinade
Marinades are a good way to flavor raw meats, fish, and poultry. It may be tempting to use any leftover marinade on the food after it has been cooked. But that's risky—the marinade may harbor harmful bacteria.
Related: Grilled Corn with Basil Butter
6. Don't make dish towels do double duty
Using the same dish towel several times to clean your hands and spills on the grill can spread germs. Use paper towels or disposable wipes instead. Reach for a dish towel only if you're going to dry clean dishes or your hands after washing them.
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References: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; U.S Department of Agriculture