Memorial Day BBQ Tips You Don’t Want to Miss

May 20, 2015

Here are some safety tips and practices you should keep in mind while grilling.

Memorial Day is just days away, and grills and grill masters across the country are getting fired up! SupermarketGuru wanted to share some safety tips and practices you should keep in mind while grilling. Here are five important tips for a safe kick off to BBQ season.

First comes first, wash your hands thoroughly with hot soapy water before cooking, handling raw foods, and before handling cooked foods. Cross contamination is one of the biggest sources of food safety issues; washing up prevents problems. If you are not near running water you can use a waterless cleaner that kills germs and bacteria instantly. Also, fill a spray bottle with water and one tablespoon of bleach to keep handy to wipe off surfaces and utensils.

Is mayo safe for summer? Traditionally, mayo is a blend of oil and egg yolks that is seasoned with vinegar, lemon juice, salt and occasionally mustard. Mayo gets its fragile reputation from the egg yolks which can spoil easily especially in homemade varieties that use unpasteurized eggs if left at room temperature. So, why doesn’t commercial mayo spoil? Commercial brands of mayonnaise use pasteurized eggs, or an egg yolk replacement that doesn’t spoil, that’s also why most varieties of mayo are not refrigerated when you buy them. Moreover, a study from the Food Research Institute of the University of Wisconsin, found that mayonnaise in salads might actually help reduce spoilage. The vinegar, lemon juice, salt and other ingredients make mayo acidic and “preservative like” and therefore likely to protect against spoilage. Remember if you are using homemade mayo you need to be much more careful!

Don’t wash the chicken! Researchers from the UK’s Food Standards Agency found that washing chicken can lead to splashed water droplets that can spread harmful bacteria on to work surfaces, clothing, skin and cooking equipment. The government's food watchdog has urged consumers to stop washing chicken before they cook it to avoid contaminating their kitchen with Campylobacter. FSA chief executive Catherine Brown said: "Although people tend to follow recommended practice when handling poultry, such as washing hands after touching raw chicken and making sure it is thoroughly cooked, our research has found that washing raw chicken is also common practice (that may not lead to the desired outcome).”

Make it hot! Make sure that all meats are cooked thoroughly, and be sure your grill is hot before you cook. Electric grills should be heated at least 15 minutes prior to cooking and gas grills at least 10 minutes. Don’t rely on a visual image thinking that meats that are brown are thoroughly cooked. Use a meat thermometer - ground beef to 160 degrees, steaks and roasts to 150, poultry to 165, fish to 145 or until opaque, shrimp/lobster/crab to 145 (internal), shell should turn red and flesh should become opaque. Hot dogs should be steaming hot to 165.

Make it cold! Refrigerate leftovers as soon as you can, no more than one hour after cooking, especially when it’s warm outside. Bring ice if you know an outside party will last longer – you can fill a larger bowl with ice and place cold foods plates on top – this will help make foods taste better and preserve freshness.

SupermarketGuru hopes you’ll enjoy your Memorial Day weekend and have a safe BBQ with family and friends.