Summertime Fun without the Danger
The snow and the cold weather have faded into distant memory. The sun is shining, the sky is blue, and that means it is time to barbeque. As great as the thought of burgers, steak, and other cookout treats might be, it’s also important to think about some of the dangers of cooking out. Whether you are at your own home, the beach, a park, or at a company outing, you need to pay close attention to the food you are choosing and how you are preparing it if you want everyone to remain safe and healthy. Here are some important tips to keep in mind to ensure that there are not any issues that could cause you to be liable for injury or illness.
Buying, Thawing, Marinating, and Preparing
When you are buying your food for the cookout, make sure that you pick up all of the items from the freezer and refrigerated section last. Do not walk around the grocery story with meat in the cart while you shop for condiments. The cold food should go into the cart last, and you should head straight home after the store. Refrigerate the food right away. Make sure the meat is in separate plastic bags from the rest of the food too, so there is no chance of contamination.
When you are thawing the meat, the best option is to thaw in the refrigerator slowly. You can also thaw sealed packages in cold water. It’s also possible to microwave the items to help them defrost right before you throw them on the grill.
If you make a marinade for the food, make sure that you put it the refrigerator and not on the counter. It’s possible to marinate stew meat, poultry, and cubed meat for up to two days in the refrigerator. If you are marinating beef, pork, steaks, and chops, you can have them in the refrigerator for up to five days.
Always keep the food cold right up until you are ready to cook. Make sure that you are aware of keeping everything nice and clean too. Putting raw chicken on the counter and forgetting to clean the area can lead to contamination and salmonella. Cleanliness is always important for safety whether you are having a cookout or not.
If you are transporting food, make sure you put it in a cooler to keep it at a proper temperature. Remember, this is important for more than just meat. It’s also important with other cookout foods such as potato salad and anything else that has the potential to spoil quickly in the heat.
When you cook the food, you need to make sure that you are cooking it all the way through. Beef and pork should have a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees, while ground meat should have an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees. Poultry should reach 165 degrees.
Of course, you also need to be very careful around the grill. Grill fires started at cookouts happen with alarming frequency, as do burns. Those who have grill duty should make sure they are watching the grill at all times to ensure there are no errant flames and that no one injures himself or herself. When you are cooking with charcoal and lighter fluid, be very careful about how much you add to the grill. Even so, it’s a good idea to have water readily available just in case.
These simple tips should help to ensure that the food you and your friends and family eat is tasty and safe, and that you do not inadvertently start a fire. Have fun and be safe! For more information on keeping yourself and your property insured, contact us.