Vacation grilling: Hold sizzling meals sizzling, cool meals cool | Native Leisure

Remembrance Day is one of the two biggest barbecue days of the year. Before falling under the spell of smoke and sizzle, keep in mind that food safety principles also apply to outdoor cooking.

Memorial Day is the second biggest barbecue day of the year, according to the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association. 56 percent of adults in the US boil out, only topped by 68 percent as of July 4th. When asked why people grill, the HPBA found that 68 percent were grilled for taste, followed by “Lifestyle” with 45 percent, convenience with 33 percent and entertainment with 32 percent. and 19 percent said it was a hobby.

“Outdoor cooking requires extra attention to food safety as you don’t have your usual food safety tools on hand, such as a refrigerator to maintain safe temperatures and a sink with running water to put tools, plates and hands clean, “said Mary Jane Cody, a Perry County Extension Agent for the University of Arkansas Agricultural Systems Department. “It’s important not to forget these realities even when we’re having fun outside.”

Food-borne diseases are no mean feat. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 48 million people fall ill, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die from food-borne diseases in the United States each year.

Kristen Gibson, associate professor of food safety and microbiology, says grillers should add another tool to their collection of spatulas, tongs, and plates.

“Your thermometer is your best friend when grilling!” She said. “If you slice and visually inspect the meat of your choice, you can’t tell the temperature or the right cooking time.”

She also urged the grillers to “avoid cross-contamination. Tongs and spatulas should be washed with soap and water or changed after raw meat has been placed on the grill or agitated. “

Cody offered these reminders to help prevent foodborne illnesses from ruining your picnic, block party, or outdoor family dinner:

CLEANING – Wash your hands with soap before and after handling raw meat, poultry, and seafood. Wash work surfaces, utensils, and the grill before and after cooking. Think about where you want to grill. If there is no source of clean water, bring it with you for preparation and cleaning. You might even consider using vinyl gloves on your raw meat.

SEPARATE – Do not cross-contaminate. Throw away marinades and sauces that have touched raw meat juices. Put cooked meat on a clean plate.

COOKING – Use a food thermometer to make sure the meat is being cooked hot enough to kill harmful germs. When smoking, keep the temperature inside the smoker at 225 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit to keep the meat at a safe temperature while cooking.

COOLING – It is important to keep cold food cold. Only take out what is immediately put on the grill. Keep meat, poultry, and seafood refrigerated until grilled. Keep it below 40 degrees Fahrenheit when shipping in an insulated cooler. Always keep your hot food hot. After you’ve cooked meat and poultry, keep it hot until it’s ready to serve, at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer.

COOLING – Immediately store leftovers in the refrigerator. If you plan to reheat those hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill, make sure they hit 165 degrees Fahrenheit and throw away any food that’s left outside for more than an hour. Divide leftovers into small portions and place in covered, flat containers. Put it in the freezer or refrigerator within two hours of cooking, or an hour if it’s over 90 degrees Fahrenheit outside.