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The dog days of summer are here and grilling season is in full swing! But are you practicing safe outdoor cooking techniques? Here we have outlined 5 tips to make sure your BBQ is some of the best!

Tip #1: Wash Your Hands!

Keeping your hands clean is probably one of the easiest and most effective ways to decrease the spread of bacteria. The CDC recommends scrubbing your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds – about the length of time it takes to sing your ABC’s. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails before rinsing thoroughly.

Tip #2: Keep Foods Separate

Be sure to use a new, clean surface for prepping and serving your food. Bacteria can be easily transferred from one surface to another. For instance, don’t cut your veggies on the same plate you just had your pre-cooked burgers on!

Tip #3: Remember the 2 Hour Rule

Germs that cause food-born illnesses thrive in warmer weather.  Food, especially meat, should be consumed within 2 hours of cooking. In especially hot weather, 90 degrees or more, food should not be left out for more than 1 hour. Any leftovers should be thrown out unless they can go straight into the refrigerator or if you have sufficient ice to transport them back home.

Tip #4: Ice, Ice, Baby!

Stock up on enough ice to fill your cooler. If you are travelling with your food keep your cooler out of the hot trunk and transport it in the air-conditioned cabin.

Tip #5: Reach the Right Temperature

That beautiful char-grilled coloring you get while cooking over a flame can be deceptive, making the surface appear fully cooked but leaving the inside raw. Using a food-grade thermometer is the easiest way to tell if your BBQ is fully cooked. The USDA has outlined safe minimal internal temperatures:

  • 165°F for poultry and leftovers
  • 160°F for ground meat
  • 145°F fish, shellfish, and steaks (beef, pork, lamb)