Outdoor Cooking Safety

Outdoor cooking safety

Whether you prefer to cook indoors or outdoors, there are specific safety measures that need to be considered.  Personally, I prefer my steaks cooked on the grill as it adds a nice crunch and the smell of food on the grill is unbeatable.  Whenever I do cook on the grill, whether it’s a juicy steak or vegetables, I need to remember a few safety items to not endanger myself, my home, or my neighbors.  

  • Keep cold food cold. 
    • If a food item I am preparing is meant to be cold before cooking or in some cases, not even go on the grill at all, it is important to keep it cold.  If food starts to become warm, not cooked, it increases bacterial growth on the food.  I don’t think bacteria was on the menu for the day. 
  • Thaw meats completely.  
    • To cook meat properly on the grill, it needs to be thawed completely.  It can be hard to tell whether the inside is thawed or not, so sticking a meat thermometer into it can help determine if it is thawed or not.  
  • Keep raw and cooked meat separate. 
    • While keeping your cooking space clear of clutter, remember to not put cooked meat back on the same plate that raw meat was on previously.  Head inside and grab a fresh plate free of raw meat juices to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Cook meat thoroughly on the grill.  
    • Once again, checking the internal temperature of meat on the grill is important.  Due to the char from a grill, the outside of the meats tends to appear cooked very quickly.  Don’t make the mistake of taking it off the grill too soon and stick a meat thermometer into it.  
  • If the weather is above 90-degrees Fahrenheit, do not leave food on the table for more than an hour. 
    • The heat can quickly alter the food and cause bacterial growth.  If the temperature is below 90-degrees Fahrenheit, you may leave it out for two hours, but no more. 
  • If using a gas grill, double-check you turned the propane off after grilling, as well as the grill itself. 
  • If a charcoal grill is used, make sure the coals are completely cooled down before disposing of them. 
  • Only grill outdoors away from your home or others.  A minimum of six feet is a safe distance.   
    • Also, be sure the area is well ventilated with fresh air.  

 

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