Grilling & Food Safety: Food Safety Tips for Summer Cookouts

Summer is heating up, the days are long and hot and we’re all spending as much time outdoors as possible. And what would summer be without grilling? Whether it’s a backyard BBQ, a beachside bonfire or a campsite cookout, grilling is life during the summer.

While it’s important to focus on safety at the grill (hi, hot coals, I’m looking at you) another, often neglected, but important piece of the safety puzzle is keeping food safe:

This infographic is from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. VisitĀ eatright.orgĀ for more information on healthful eating or to find a registered dietitian nutritionist.

Although people have different methods to tell if a steak is cooked to their liking, or if the chicken is done (ever tried the nose test? what about the hand test?) the only way to know for sure food has reached the proper temperature is by using a thermometer. Don’t want to lose any of those delicious, meaty juices? Try an infrared thermometer for a quick read sans the juice loss.

Be sure to keep raw and cooked meats separate. While that seems like an easy one, consider all the times they can accidentally get mixed- use separate plates for taking them to the grill and taking them off the grill, and use different utensils to grill and to serve.

Keep your beverages in a different color from your other foods- your beverage cooler is the one that will be opened the most often and the temperature inside may increase as a result, you don’t want perishables getting too warm!

If you do head out to grill, keep in mind that leftovers need to be stored properly and they need to be eaten quickly. How quickly?

  • Once hamburgers (or other ground meat) and poultry are cooked they will last 3-4 days in the fridge.
  • Steaks and other whole muscle cuts? Give ’em up to 5 days.
  • Don’t let the sausages stay longer than 3 days.
  • And any chopped veggies or fruits should be eaten within a few days- chopped produce spoils quicker than whole.

Happy grilling!

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