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Grilling Food Safely

 

Grilling season is upon us!  Be safe and keep it simple!

 

I love grilling, whether it is on my gas, charcoal or smoker grill, direct or indirect cooking.  There is little or no clean up AND the flavors are endless, just by changing the marinade or adding a touch of smoke from different types of wood chips available.

 

My favorite grilled foods include fresh thickly sliced veggies (onions, eggplant, squashes, mushrooms, tomatoes, artichokes, corn, peppers, potatoes).  There is so much you can do with grilled veggies — salads, sandwiches, omelets– the possibilities are endless! 

 

To make a quick and fabulously delicious garlic bread, just slice your favorite bread (whole wheat, sour dough, ciabatta) into 1 inch slices.  Brush with a little garlic-infused oil and grill over medium heat until golden. Sprinkle with finishing salt and OMG!

 

And fruit! When you grill a fresh peach, nectarine or fig, the flavor transforms into this melt-in-your mouth treat that you never expected!  A simple sweet balsamic vinaigrette or a drizzle of lavendar honey and a little bleu cheese and VIOLA!  A healthy and fabulous grilled dessert!

 

 

 

Whatever your tastes, grilling is something well-worth practicing until you get it right! Don’t be intimidated! Food is to be enjoyed and shared, so what are you waiting for! 

“LOVE PEOPLE.  COOK THEM GREAT FOOD.”

 

I thought I’d share some tips with you that I gleaned from Mayo Clinic health tips.

Here goes:

 

  • THAW THOROUGHLY   Plan ahead so that frozen meat and poultry are completely thawed before grilling. Slow- thawing in the refrigerator (on a shelf away from produce) is recommended. To avoid nasty cleanups and possible contamination of other food, put the package on a plate or bowl just in case the package leaks!  Another option is to use cold water to thaw sealed packages. Your frozen item is thawed very quickly and safely. This is my favorite method of thawing.  Using the microwave is also an option, but not my favorite because it changes the texture and flavor of the meat, but it is acceptable according to the Mayo Clinic. Food must be grilled immediately after using the microwave method.
  • USE MARINADES PROPERLY   Marinate foods in the refrigerator, not on your countertop.  If you plan to use the same marinade to baste while grilling or as a sauce on cooked food, set aside a portion of the marinade before putting the raw meat, poultry or seafood in in.  Never resuse marinade that has been used to marinate food! 
  • DON’T SKIMP ON COOKING TIME    Consider indirect cooking to prevent charring, as charred meats may contain carcinogens.  Remove visible fat prior to grilling to avoid flare-ups.
  • THE MAYO CLINIC suggests you use a food thermometer to test internal temperatures, especially if you are new at grilling. Fish and medium rare steaks should be cooked to 145 degrees. Ground beef and all types of pork are cooked safely at 160, whole or ground poultry to 165.  Personally, I find that these temperatures are a little high for most items, except the ground beef and poultry. By using the method I mention below, you can keep your meat tender and cooked thoroughly at the same time!
  • REMEMBER! Your meat continues to cook after you remove it from the grill. By placing an inverted bowl over top of your cooked item immediately or securely snugging the plate with aluminum foil, the steam from the hot meat will continue to gently “cook” and the internal temperature will continue to rise, tenderizing as it steams.  Leave the meat alone for at least 5 minutes, or up to 15 minutes before carving so you don’t lose all of those lovely juices.
  • BEWARE OF CROSS-CONTAMINATION  Always use clean utensils and platters to serve grilled food. Never reuse items that came in contact with raw meat, poultry or seafood.  Clean all surfaces that poultry or other sources of contamination touch with soap and water or a bleach solution.  Personally, I couldn’t cook without  my Clorox Clean-up!
  • CLEAN YOUR GRILL before each use and make sure it’s HOT before you place food on it. Try to remember to clean the grill after you take off what you have cooked by turning the heat to high and using a wire brush to scrape off all bits you have left behind.  That way, when you are ready to use it again, just heat ‘er up, oil your grates and GET GRILLIN’! 

 

 

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