Summer Cookouts Part I


Summer Cookouts
By Tips to be Fit Vince Faust

It’s time for those family cookouts. Family cookouts are an excellent way to spend quality time with your family and friends. What’s more relaxing than a great barbecued meal served up in the backyard or a park on a lazy afternoon? Remember food poisoning peaks in the summer months with the hotter weather because foodborne germs flourish.

Don’t use a plate that previously held raw foods like meats, poultry, or seafood for anything. Wash all plates, utensils, and surfaces used for raw foods in hot, soapy water.

Always marinate food in the refrigerator. If you want to use some of the marinades as a sauce on your cooked food, set aside some of the sauce not used on the raw foods. Don’t reuse marinade that contained raw meat on cooked foods.

Always cook food thoroughly. Use a food thermometer. Hamburgers should be cooked to 160°F. If you don’t have a thermometer, make sure hamburgers are brown all the way through, not pink. Chicken should be cooked to at least
165°F. You can partially cook food in the microwave, oven or stove to reduce grilling time.

Make sure you keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold to avoid bacteria contamination. Bacteria in food can multiply faster at temperatures between 40°F and 140°F. Summer heat can make the basics of food safety especially important. You can get caught up in the minute while a cookout is happening, but you should remind yourself not leave food out of the cooler or off the grill for more than two hours. Never leave food out for more than one hour when the temperature is above 90°F.

Hot food should be kept at or above 140°F. Hot food should be wrapped well and placed in an insulated container. If bringing hot take-out food such as fried chicken or barbecue to an outdoor party, eat it within two hours of purchase. In addition to bringing a grill and fuel for cooking to an outdoor location, remember to pack a food thermometer to check that your meat and poultry reach a safe internal temperature. When re-heating food at the outing, be sure it reaches 165°F.

Cold food should be held at or below 40°F. Foods like chicken salad and desserts that are in individual serving dishes can be placed directly on ice or in a shallow container set in a deep pan filled with ice. Drain off the water as ice melts and replace ice frequently.

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