Six simple tips when grilling out

Whether you grill out all year long or just in warm weather, MSU Extension has six simple tips to make your food safe whenever you grill.

When temperatures begin to climb our thoughts drift to the familiar smell of our favorite meat sizzling on the grill, a salad filled with fresh garden vegetables and red, juicy strawberries for dessert. Before digging in, Michigan State University Extension has some basic food safety rules to prevent you and your family from getting a foodborne illness and ruining everything.

  1. Always wash your hands with warm, soapy water (for at least 20 seconds) before, during and after handling food.
  2. Use separate utensils, cutting boards and serving dishes for raw and cooked foods. Never serve any food on the same dish that held raw meat, poultry or fish.
  3. Marinate foods in the refrigerator, not on the countertop or outdoors. If some of the marinade is to be used as a sauce on the cooked food, set some aside before adding the raw meat, poultry or seafood. Don’t reuse marinade from raw meat unless you boil it for several minutes to destroy any bacteria from the raw meat.
  4. It is safe to partially cook meat or poultry ahead of time and finish it up on the grill only if the meat goes immediately from the microwave or stove to the grill. If you must cook ahead, you can also cook the meat completely and then cool it quickly and reheat it on the grill later.
  5. Use a food thermometer to make sure meats reach safe internal temperatures. Using a thermometer also ensures that your meat is not overcooked. For example, hamburgers should be cooked to 160 degrees Fahrenheit, poultry to 165 degrees Fahrenheit and pork chops to 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. Never leave perishable food out of the refrigerator for more than two hours. When outdoor temperatures reach 90 degrees Fahrenheit, food shouldn’t be left out for more than one hour.

Enjoy grilling and eating outdoors with your family and friends or all by yourself. Just take precautions to make sure that no one will be getting sick from the food you prepare and serve.         

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