Spring – or summer, depending on the day – has finally arrived in Indiana. As the days warm, people are more likely to grill out. Along with the temperatures rising, food poisoning also peaks in the summer months when warmer temperatures cause foodborne germs to flourish. Follow these steps for a safe and enjoyable grilling season.
When shopping, pick up meat, poultry, and seafood last, right before checkout. Separate them from other food in your shopping cart and grocery bags. To guard against cross-contamination, put packages of raw meat and poultry into individual plastic bags.
Keep meat, poultry and seafood refrigerated until ready to grill. When transporting, keep below 40oF in an insulated cooler.
Wash your hands with soap before and after handling raw meat, poultry, and seafood. Wash work surfaces, utensils, and the grill 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 bristly brush, thoroughly inspect the grill’s surface before cooking. Wire bristles from cleaning brushes may dislodge and stick into food on the grill.
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.
Use a food thermometer to ensure meat is cooked hot enough to kill harmful germs. When smoking, keep temperatures inside the smoker at 225oF to 300oF to keep meat a safe temperature while it cooks.
- 145oF – whole cuts of beef, pork, lamb, and veal (stand-time of 3 minutes at this temperature)
- 145oF – fish
- 160oF – hamburgers and other ground beef
- 165oF – all poultry and pre-cooked meats, like hot dogs
- 140oF or warmer – until served
Divide leftovers into small portions and place in covered, shallow containers. Put in freezer or refrigerator within two hours of cooking (one hour is above 90oF outside.)