Don’t Poison Your Kids: Summer Cookout Safety

It’s summertime – the heat is on and your crew is hungry. For many of us that means cooling off in the pool or at the lake, firing up the grill and diving into yummy summer desserts like ice cream and fresh fruit.  Keep everyone happy and healthy while you prepare that delicious cookout. The last thing you want is for your fun day at the lake to turn into a weekend spent throwing up in the bathroom.

Here are some tips to help you stay safe and avoid food poisoning:

Thaw with Care

Completely thaw meat and poultry before grilling so it cooks more evenly.

  • Use the refrigerator for slow, safe thawing or thaw sealed packages in cold water.
  • For quicker thawing, you can microwave defrost if the food will be placed immediately on the grill.

Marinate Well

Some of the best flavors of the grill come when meats are marinated in advance of cooking.

  • Marinate food in the refrigerator, not on the counter.
  • Poultry and cubed meat or stew meat can be marinated up to two days.
  • Beef, veal, pork, and lamb roasts, chops, and steaks may be marinated up to five days.
  • If some of the marinade is to be used as a sauce on the cooked food, reserve a portion of the marinade before putting raw meat and poultry in it. Don’t use marinade that has been stewing in raw meat as a sauce or dressing – that’s an easy way to give everyone salmonella.

Stay Cool

  • Keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood cold until you are ready to cook and eat.
  • Deli and lunch-meat sandwiches and summer salads (e.g. tuna, chicken, egg, pasta, or seafood) should stay chilled.
  • The same goes for cut-up fruit and vegetables; and perishable dairy products like ice cream.

Cooler Tips

  • Use an insulated cooler filled with ice or frozen gel packs if no refrigerator is nearby. Your frozen food can also be handy as a cold source.
  • A full cooler will keep cold longer than a partially filled one.  
  • Park the cooler and any food out of the direct sun.
  • Avoiding opening the cooler repeatedly helps the food stay colder longer.

At the Grill

  • Use separate cutting boards and utensils for raw meat and ready-to-eat items like vegetables or bread.
  • Keep perishable food in the cooler until it’s time to cook.
  • Use a food thermometer to make sure meat and poultry are cooked thoroughly to their safe minimum internal temperatures.
  • Always use a fresh, clean plate and tongs for serving cooked food. Never reuse items that touched raw meat or poultry to serve the food once it is cooked.

Outdoor Serving and Dining

  • In hot Austin weather when it’s above 90°F, food should never sit out for more than one hour.
  • Serve cold food in small portions saving the rest in the cooler.  
  • After cooking meat and poultry on the grill, keep it hot until served – at 140°F or warmer. On the side of the grill rack is best (and you won’t overcook it).
  • Keep food covered to ward off flies. Flies carry all sorts of nasty bugs and can transfer bacteria to your carefully prepared meals.

Here’s a quick chart to reference on many of the ways to keep your food safe in Summer. Read More about food safety myths and some of the reasons you don’t want to wait to be checked out if you suspect food poisoning.

If you do find yourself throwing up after a cookout, Remedy can help. Schedule an appointment online and one of our providers will be at your door within 90 minutes.

Book an appointment today!