Grilling Safety and Food Nutrition Reminders | Community
The smell of charcoal and the delicious meats and marinades cooked on the grill are sure signs of summer.
As we spend more time cooking outdoors, it is important that we also remember food security and nutrition.
Food safety ensures that food is prepared and cooked in a way that kills harmful bacteria that cause foodborne illness. Many grill safety practices are the same as for indoor food preparation.
Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and lukewarm water before and after handling all food. Do not contaminate raw and cooked food. Wash cutting boards, utensils, and dishes before preparing each new item, and always use a clean dish when removing food from the grill.
Safely thaw frozen foods in the refrigerator, microwave, or cold water. Never defrost food at room temperature. If your recipe requires you to marinate your food, do so in the refrigerator. Prepare enough marinade to divide it between the raw meats and the sauce. Do not reuse the marinade that has been placed on raw meats as a sauce on cooked foods.
Raw meat juices can contaminate cooked foods.
When cooking, use a meat thermometer to make sure the meat is cooked to a temperature high enough to kill bacteria. Cook ground meats, including beef, pork, lamb and veal, to an internal temperature of 160 degrees.
Other cuts of these meats, including steaks, roasts, and chops, should reach 145 degrees after a three-minute standing period. Grill all chickens and poultry to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
Without using a meat thermometer, you might think that meat is done before reaching a safe temperature because the outside of the meat turns brown quickly on the grill. All grilled meats must maintain a temperature of 140 degrees before serving.
To do this, keep the meat on the side of the grill away from direct heat or place it in an oven heated to 200 degrees.
While meats are the first foods that often come to mind when we talk about grilling, they’re not the only foods that taste great when cooked on the grill. You can grill a lot of fruits and vegetables. Peaches, pears, pineapples, bananas, apples and melons grill well.
Choose fruit that is firm and not overripe. Overripe fruit can become too soft when roasted. You can enhance their flavor by applying olive oil or lemon juice before placing them on the grill.
Place firm vegetables like corn on the cob, asparagus and eggplant directly on the cooking grid of your grill. Brush with olive oil and season with fresh herbs. Turn vegetables frequently to keep them from burning. Wrap smaller or chopped vegetables, with a little oil and seasoning, in foil before grilling.
Cooked food should not be left outside for more than two hours. If it is over 90 degrees, food should not be prepared for more than an hour.
More information on nutrition and food security is available at the Madison County office of the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service.
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