UACES Facebook Grilling Tips For Memorial Day Celebration!
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Grilling Tips For Memorial Day Celebration!

You don't want to be the reason your family and friends become sick! It is important to review and follow food safety guidelines to prevent harmful bacteria from multiplying and causing foodborne illness.

Nashville, Ark. – 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 illness.

            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.

            Plan to drive directly home from the grocery store. You may want to take a cooler with ice for perishables, especially if it takes you a while 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.

            As cookout time nears, remember to keep your meat and poultry refrigerated until ready to use. 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 browns very fast on the outside. Use a food thermometer to be sure the food has reached a safe minimum internal temperature. Beef, veal, and lamb steaks, roasts, chops, and seafood can be cooked to 145˚F. Hamburgers made of ground beef should reach 155˚F. All poultry should reach a minimum of 165˚F. The latest recommendation for pork is 145˚F except for ground pork which should reach an internal temperature of 160˚.

            As you add fully cooked meats to the grill such as hot dogs or sausage links, grill them to 165˚F or until steaming hot. Eating hot dogs right out of the package poses a severe health risk; therefore, it is very important to never give a child an under cooked hot dog.

            Remember that kabobs of meat, vegetables or even fruit, are great for grilling. To grill kabobs your guests will want more of, remember to cut meats and veggies to the same size. One to one and one-half inch cubes work well.

            Next group foods with similar cooking times together. 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 I wish you all a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend!

Recipe of the Week

            Memorial Day is the official kickoff to summer and many people will be dusting off the ice cream freezer and making homemade ice cream. This recipe is a safe way to prepare your ice cream base by cooking the eggs to a custard state. It is no longer recommended to use raw eggs as they can pose a salmonella risk. If you want to use a family recipe, purchase pasteurized eggs in a carton and use instead of eggs in the shell or use this delicious recipe!

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

4 eggs

2 ½ cups sugar

7 cups milk

3 cups whipping cream

2 ½ tablespoons vanilla

½ teaspoon salt

            Beat eggs till light. Add sugar gradually, beating till thick. Add 3 cups of the milk. Heat till thickened. Add remaining ingredients; mix well. Pour into 5-quart freezer can. Fit can into freezer. (If using electric freezer, follow manufacturer’s directions.) Adjust dasher and cover. Pack 6 parts crushed ice and 1 part rock salt around can. Turn dasher slowly till ice partially melts and forms brine – add more ice and salt to maintain level. Turn handle constantly till crank turns hard. Remove lid and dasher. Plug opening in lid. Cover can with several thicknesses of waxed paper or foil; replace lid. Pack 4 parts ice and 1 part salt to fill; cover with newspapers. Ripen 4 hours. Makes 1 gallon.

By Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852
(870) 845-7517


The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.