9 Food Safety Mistakes Great Grillers Never Make
This post is Part 2 of our Grilling Tips series. For even more tips and tricks, read the rest of our series: Part 1.
Food poisoning is the quickest way to turn what was a fantastic BBQ into an unfortunate affair. Whether you’re feeding yourself, your family, or your whole neighbourhood, no one wants to get food poisoning, let alone be the cause of it.
Luckily (for everyone), food poisoning is easy to prevent. Just follow these easy grilling tips and rest assured knowing that your guests will go home happy, full, and looking forward to your next shindig.
- Cook meat to the right internal temperature.
Undercooked meat retains bacteria that can easily cause food poisoning, especially if the meat has been thawed or exposed to warm conditions prior to cooking.
Make sure your meat is cooked to the right temperature using this chart.
- Use a meat thermometer.
Not sure whether your meat has reached the proper internal temperature? Grab a meat thermometer. Just make sure not to poke too many holes, or else you might end up with a dry meal.
- Use separate plates and utensils when handling raw food.
This may seem like a no brainer, but cross contamination is one of the most common causes of food poisoning.
Never place raw food and cooked food on the same surface (that goes for all plates, cookie sheets, cutting boards, or any other surface you might use in your kitchen). Always carefully wash all the plates, surfaces, and utensils you used to prepare meat before using them to handle cooked food.
- Wash vegetables before cooking.
Think about how many apples you pick up at the grocery store before you find one you like. It should be pretty obvious why you should always wash fresh produce before you use it, but sometimes people forget! This is your reminder that you should wash all your produce – even pre-washed vegetables – they can still carry harmful bacteria.
Side note: You may have heard that it’s a good idea to wash poultry and seafood as well, but washing meat can actually spread bacteria. Not quite the effect you were looking for.
- Leave uncooked meat in the fridge until you’re ready to start cooking.
Warmer temperatures promote the growth of harmful bacteria.
- Always marinate meat in the fridge.
If you marinate your meat outside of the fridge, you’re giving harmful bacteria a chance to grow.
- Never re-use excess marinade.
As much as you might be tempted to keep your excess marinade, you should always throw it out. Excess marinade can carry the same bacteria that can cause food poisoning.
If you want to add more flavour to your food, reserve some marinade from your original batch for later use or make a new batch altogether.
- Keep your meat in the fridge while preheating your BBQ.
Leaving your meat out of the fridge while you preheat your grill gives harmful bacteria a chance to multiply.
- Clean grease and all food residues from your grill grates before cooking.
Make sure to pre-heat your barbecue and scrape your grill grates before you put tonight’s dish on the grill.
The only thing worse than having food poisoning is knowing that you’ve given it to others, especially because it’s so easy to prevent. Don’t be that person – follow these easy tips and rest easy knowing your meal wasn’t anything but delicious.
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