Let’s be real — one of the best parts about summer is the backyard BBQs. But, according to the USDA this is also a time when rates of foodborne illnesses soar. Follow our simple food safety tips to make sure all of your parties go off without a hitch!

Grilling Season: BBQ Tips for a Safe Summer

5 Steps to Prep

  1. Wash your hands using warm water and soap. This is the most important step in preventing foodborne illness!
  2. Wipe down all surfaces before, during, and after food prep.
  3. Marinate food in the refrigerator, not the countertop. Also, don’t taste the marinade or re-use it after raw meat has been added. You can reserve a small quantity if you need additional marinade.
  4. Use separate cutting boards for raw meats and produce.
  5. Wash your produce. Scrub produce that is “scrubbable” like melons and citrus, even if you plan to cut it.

Get Your Grill On

It’s important to always cook foods thoroughly. To help you know when your meat is ready, the USDA has come up with this catchy acronym:

Grilling like a PRO

P – Place the Thermometer: Invest in a meat thermometer and use it! Insert your thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, then wait.

R – Read the Temperature: After 10-20 seconds check your temp. Use the guidelines below to determine the safe internal temperature for your meat and poultry.

  • Beef, Pork, Lamb, & Veal (steaks, roasts, and chops): 145 °F with a 3 minute rest time
  • Ground meats: 160 °F
  • Whole poultry, poultry breasts, & ground poultry: 165 °F

O – Off the Grill: When your meat is ready, move it off the grill and onto a clean platter. Be extra careful not to put it back onto the plate you had your uncooked meat on!

Grilling Season: BBQ Tips for a Safe Summer

The Safe Way to Serve

  • Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold! Serve foods like potato salad or dips on ice beds if they will be sitting out for a while. BBQ’ed items can be left on the grill after it is turned off to stay hot until it is time to be served.
  • Don’t let perishable foods sit out for longer than two hours in moderate temperatures. If it’s 90ºF or more, food should not sit out for more than an hour.

As a reminder, always keep your little ones away from the BBQ. You can still get them in on the cooking process by letting them prepare other items on the menu. Most importantly, have fun!

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