Insights & Actions for Healthy Living

My husband does the grilling. How long can food can sit out waiting for the grill to be ready?

Backyard grilling seems often to be the domain of the man in the family (not always but let’s face it, a lot) and they love it!

You ask a great question because men who cook only when the charcoal gets hot may not be as aware of food safety principles as a person who cooks every day.

Summer time seems to get many of us out of the kitchen and into the backyard, picnic or beach where we love to grill. These locations present challenges to keeping our food safe from bacteria.

Let’s look at some specific food safety risks when we grill.

Here is a recap of things we can all do to decrease the risk of foodborne illness joining us at our next cookout:

  1. The first rule of thumb for anyone preparing food or cooking is wash your hands. This is sometimes difficult when you are not at home but often overlooked even on the back deck when the dog follows and the kids want to play ball. Keep hand sanitizer and disposable wet wipes handy to clean hands frequently when cooking outside.
  2. Keep cold food cold until ready to cook using home refrigerator or ice chest. Food such as coleslaw or potato salad can be kept on a pan of ice for serving.
  3. Always separate raw and cooked foods. Use clean utensils and plates when handling raw and cooked foods. For example, use a fresh plate and fork for uncooked chicken and cooked chicken. Use separate cutting boards when preparing the fajita meat and pepper slices.
  4. Throw away unused marinade, don’t use it as a sauce without cooking it until it boils. Be sure all marinating is done under refrigeration.
  5. Store leftovers promptly, don’t allow hot or cold food to sit on the table longer than two hours. Thoroughly reheat all leftovers to the proper temperature.
  6. Cook all food items to the safe minimum temperature. Use this handy food temperature chart to determine the correct internal temperature.

Be sure anyone who is doing the grilling has ready access to a food thermometer for safe summer grilling!

Leave a reply