Fun in the Sun - Your Summer Cookout Guide
It's grilling season!
Summer is finally here and you know what that means… Time for sunny days spent at the beach and pool with lots of grilling and picnics. But there’s nothing that can ruin the fun of a summer cookout faster than a bad case of food contamination.
We tend to think that we’re safe from food borne illness when we’re cooking for ourselves and we all have that one friend who just won’t let you question their grilling skills. But recent studies from the CDC indicate that we actually track a surprising amount of pathogens across our home kitchens without even realizing it. And your friend may know what cooked ‘looks’ like, but apparently only 3% of people properly wash their hands, so maybe you should keep a bottle of hand sanitizer by the grilling station.
Between the risk of cross contamination from reusing cutting surfaces and utensils to the very real risk of an undercooked piece of chicken, the 4th of July holds a lot of pitfalls.
In order to keep you safe, we’ve put together a few easy tips to avoid the spread of any foodborne illness so that you can enjoy the fireworks show from your backyard instead of the bathroom window.
For starters, wash your hands THOROUGHLY! Wash them well and wash them often. It may seem basic, but most people don’t even do this easy step. If you’re going to be out at a picnic then bring hand sanitizer or wet wipes, but make sure you clean those hands before you prepare food or eat. It’s the easiest way to keep everyone happy.
Keep raw food and cooked food separated. It may seem obvious again, I mean who would want their grilled veggies resting on a raw chicken breast, but this also means not reusing plates that previously held raw meats – we’re looking at you grillmaster! Make sure any plate or utensil used to prepare raw meats has been washed with hot, soapy water.
Marinate in the refrigerator. Who doesn’t love a good marinade? But if you’re going to marinate make sure you do it in the fridge. Harmful bacteria grow exponentially faster at temperatures between 40°F and 140°F and unfortunately room temperature is right in the middle of that window. So make sure you keep your marinades in the fridge, your guests will thank you for it!
Finally, cook everything thoroughly. The easiest way to kill harmful bacteria that may be present is to kill it with heat. Use a meat thermometer to make sure the internal temperature of everything you cook is high enough to kill any harmful bacteria.
Most importantly of all though… eat good food and have fun in the sun!
Follow these easy steps and you’ll have a summer full of fun cookouts that you and your friends can remember without the stain of food poisoning!
Here are some recipes that the PathSpot team is excited to try out:
What are you most excited to eat this fourth of July!?