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We don’t want our guests to remember our celebration as the one that made them ill.
Here are some food safety guidelines to prevent harmful bacteria from multiplying
and causing foodborne illness.
This weekend is the official kickoff of summer and that means those backyard grills
will be firing up. Nothing is better than eating a big juicy steak or hamburger right
off the grill while enjoying the company of family and friends. While we want our
guests to enjoy the food, fellowship and fun, we don’t want them to remember our celebration
as the one that made them ill. Therefore it is important to review and follow food
safety guidelines to prevent harmful bacteria from multiplying and causing foodborne
Begin with shopping and getting the food home safely. Buy cold food like meat and
poultry last, right before checkout. Separate raw meat and poultry from other food
in your shopping cart. To guard against cross-contamination, which can happen when
raw meat or poultry juices drip on other food, have the grocery sacker put your meats
in a plastic bag by themselves.
You may want to take a cooler with ice for perishables, especially if it takes you
some time to get home. Always refrigerate perishable food within 1 hour when the temperature
is above 90˚F. Otherwise, they should be refrigerated within 2 hours.
Marinated meats will enrich the foods flavor and tenderize it as well. It is important
to remember to marinate food in the refrigerator, not on the counter. Poultry and
cubed meat, such as for kebabs can be marinated up to 2 days. Beef, pork, and steaks
may be marinated up to 5 days. If some of the marinade is to be used as a sauce on
the cooked food, reserve a portion of the marinade before putting raw meat and poultry
in it. Discard any marinade that has touched meat, once you put the meat on the grill.
Only take out the meat and poultry that will immediately be placed on the grill. Keep
the rest in the refrigerator until needed.
As you prepare the meal for your friends and family remember to keep everything clean.
Be sure there are plenty of clean utensils and platters. Never use the same platter
and utensils for raw and cooked meat and poultry. Harmful bacteria present in raw
meat and poultry and their juices can contaminate safely cooked food.
Grill food to a safe minimum internal temperature to destroy harmful bacteria. Meat
and poultry cooked on a grill often brown very fast on the outside. Use a food thermometer
to be sure the food has reached a safe minimum internal temperature.
Remember that kabobs of meat, vegetables or even fruit, are great for grilling. To
grill kabobs remember to cut meats and veggies to the same size. One to one and one-half
inch cubes work well.
Denser foods such as bell peppers and chicken will cook at about the same time, however
if you add cherry tomatoes they may turn to mush, or even worse, slide off the skewer
by the time the chicken is done.
If you do not have a food thermometer, they can be purchased inexpensively at discount
stores, kitchen supply stores, and supermarkets. If you would like to receive a chart
with appropriate cooking temperatures for most foods, please contact me at the University
of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service in Howard County located on the second floor
of the courthouse or call me at 870-845-7517 or e-mail me at email@example.com. I wish you all a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend!
Here is a great recipe to enjoy alongside that steak, burger, or chicken that you
grill this weekend.
Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate for about 30 minutes before serving.
Yield: 8 servings
Nutrition Information per Serving: 150 calories, 3 g. fat, 210 mg sodium, 27 g carbohydrates,
3 g fiber, 5 g protein