Barbeque Food Safety: Keeping Your Food Safe While Outdoors

by admin on September 17, 2013 · 8 comments

For three months out of the year, my kitchen closes up shop and we move to the backyard. As long as the sun is shining, my trusty barbecue cooks up pancakes for breakfast, grilled pizzas for lunch, and melt-in-your-mouth burgers for dinner. The advantages to eating outdoors are many, but there are several rules of food safety which you must keep in mind. Food poisoning is embarrassingly uncomfortable at its mildest, but can be serious or even fatal at its worst. Every summer, cases of food poisoning double, and it is not a mere coincidence. Following these food safety guidelines will keep you and your family healthy, and allow you to fully take advantage of cooking outdoors.

A BBQ should bring fun, not salmonella.

A BBQ should bring fun, not salmonella.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tips for BBQ food safety

The bacteria in your food grows much faster in the summer temperatures. It is important to take a few precautions to ensure that the meat is cooked thoroughly and that nothing is contaminated along the way.

1. Wash your hands.

This may seem self-explanatory, but many people forget or forego it all together. Always wash them for at least 20 seconds before handling food, after going to the bathroom, or anytime you have touched raw meat.

2. Don’t contaminate.

Speaking of raw meat, always keep it separate from your cooked food and produce. Be sure to clean up any areas, such as countertops and cutting boards, that the raw meat has touched. One of the most overlooked contamination problems is using the same BBQ utensils for both your raw meat and cooked meat. This can be easily solved by having tongs or a spatula for each task so you don’t accidentally spread germs onto your hot food.

3. Cook the food well.

The single most common reason for foodborne illnesses is undercooked food. If you are cooking hamburgers, be sure that they are brown all the way through. A thermometer works well to gauge the inside temperature and should be ideally at least 160 degrees F. Poultry must be handled with more care, as it is easier to undercook thicker parts of the meat. Raw poultry can contain the bacteria Salmonella, which can carry many undesirable health issues. If you have a thermometer, poultry should have an internal temperature, at it’s thickest part, of at least 165 degrees F.

A BBQ thermometer is a savvy investment in your family's health.

A BBQ thermometer is a savvy investment in your family’s health.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Refrigerate.

Nothing tastes better than meat that has been marinated overnight in fresh herbs or sticky sauces. Just be sure to always marinate in the refrigerator instead of the counter, and remember to cover the dish with plastic wrap or tin foil. In addition, keep in mind that cold foods, such as potato salads, should be kept refrigerated until you are ready to eat them.

5. Prepare the BBQ.

Always be sure to sufficiently heat up your BBQ before you begin cooking the food. If you are using a charcoal barbecue, the coals should be powdered grey and glowing red. For gas, turn it on for at least five minutes before you begin cooking to ensure that the grill is hot enough to properly cook the food.

Make sure the coals are no longer black before you begin.

Make sure the coals are no longer black before you begin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barbecuing in the backyard is one of the best things to come with the departure of spring. Enjoy the company of your family and friends with good food and good fun. Taking the steps to be sure your food is safe from foodborne illness will keep the fun times rolling all summer, and more importantly, your loved ones healthy.

Jessica Galbraith is a freelance writer, who can provide content on a variety of topics. She can accept credit cards online in exchange for her services.

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