To keep your celebration from fizzing out, be equipped with two cutting boards, to keep meat and veggies separate. And always be aware of how food is handled.
"Don't put your raw chicken on a plate, carry it out to the grill, cook your chicken, put it back on the plate. Because then, you can cross-contaminate the meat," said Chris Rosenblood, nutritionist.
Chris Rosenblood suggests pre-cooking the meat and finishing it off on the grill.
"That way, you're cooking the meat more rapidly and you're not having to have it on the grill quite as long," said Rosenblood.
That can help prevent cancer-causing compounds from forming. Also, grill with a meat thermometer, as it's not as accurate to use color or taste as signs it's done. And when it's time to clean up put your food away in a timely manner.
"There's a two-hour rule. But that rule changes to a one-hour rule when it's greater than 90 degrees. So, when it's really hot and humid, get that food in the refrigerator whether uncooked or cooked, within one hour," said Rosenblood.
She recommends cleaning the grill with hot, soapy water for next time.
Web Extra Information: Grilling Tips
Keep it Cold:
- At the store, pick-up your cold food like meat and poultry last and right before checkout
- Separate raw meat and poultry from other food in your shopping cart
- To guard against cross-contamination (which can happen when raw meat or poultry juices drip on other food) put packages of raw meat and poultry into plastic bags
- Always refrigerate perishable food within two hours. (Refrigerate within one hour when the temperature is above 90°F.Place meat and poultry in the refrigerator immediately
- Freeze poultry and ground meat that won't be used in one or two days
- Completely defrost meat and poultry before grilling so it cooks more evenly
- Use the refrigerator for slow, safe thawing or thaw sealed packages in cold water
- You can microwave defrost if the food will be placed immediately on the grill
- Meat and poultry can be marinated for several hours or days
- Marinate food in the refrigerator, not on the counter
- If you want to use some marinade as a sauce on cooked food, reserve a portion of the marinade before putting raw meat and poultry in it
- If the marinade used on raw meat or poultry is to be reused, make sure to let it come to a boil first
- Use an insulated cooler with sufficient ice or ice packs to keep the food at 40°F or below
- Pack food right from the refrigerator into the cooler immediately before leaving
- Keep meat and poultry refrigerated until ready to use
- Only take out the meat and poultry that will immediately be placed on the grill
- When using a cooler, keep it out of the direct sun
- Avoid opening the lid too often, which lets cold air out and warm air in
- Pack beverages in one cooler and perishables in another
- Be sure there are plenty of clean utensils and platters
- Don't use the same platter and utensils for raw and cooked food
- If you're eating away from home, find a source of clean water
- If there is not one, bring water for preparation and cleaning. Pack clean cloths, and wet towelettes for cleaning surfaces and hands
- Cook food to a safe internal temperature to destroy harmful bacteria
- Use a food thermometer to be sure the food has reached a safe internal temperature
- Whole poultry should reach 180°F; breasts, 170°F
- Hamburgers made of ground beef should reach 160°F
- Ground poultry, 165°F
- Beef, veal, and lamb steaks, roasts and chops can be cooked to at least 145°F
- All cuts of pork should reach 160°F
- Never partially grill meat or poultry and finish cooking later. Harmful bacteria will grow between the time you start and finish cooking, even if you refrigerate the food in between
- If precooking food partially in the microwave, oven, or stove, make sure the food goes immediately on the preheated grill to complete cooking
- After cooking meat and poultry on the grill, keep it hot until served - at 140°F or warmer
- Keep cooked meats hot by setting them to the side of the grill rack, not directly over the coals where they could overcook
- At home, the cooked meat can be kept hot in a warm oven (approximately 200°F), in a chafing dish or slow cooker, or on a warming tray
- Don't put cooked food on the same platter that held raw meat or poultry
- In hot weather (above 90°F), food should never sit out for more than one hour
- Refrigerate any leftovers promptly in shallow containers within an hour
- When reheating fully cooked meats like hot dogs, grill to 165°F or until steaming hot
- Discard any food left out more than two hours (one hour if temperatures are above 90°F)