The fourth of July holiday weekend is here and that means stars and stripes, fireworks, and of course food! But how do you keep your family safe from foodborne illness, especially when the weather is hot and food is being grilled and served outside?
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) provides several recommendations and encourages you to “grill like a PRO” in three easy steps:
P—Place the Thermometer
Make sure your food is ready by checking the internal temperature. Find the thickest part of the meat (usually about 1.5 to 2 inches deep), and insert the thermometer. If you’re cooking a thinner piece of meat, like chicken breasts or hamburger patties, insert the thermometer from the side. Make sure that the probe reaches the center of the meat.
R—Read the Temperature
Wait about 10 to 20 seconds for an accurate temperature reading. Use the following safe internal temperature guidelines for your meat and poultry.
Beef, pork, lamb and veal (steaks, roasts, and chops): 145°F with a three minute rest time
Ground meats: 160°F
Whole poultry, poultry breasts and ground poultry: 165°F
O—Off the Grill
Once the meat and poultry reach their safe minimum internal temperatures, take the food off the grill and place it on a clean platter. Don’t put cooked food on the same platter that held raw meat or poultry. Also, remember to clean your food thermometer probe with hot, soapy water or disposable wipes.
After you have your meal cooked, the next step is to serve it safely. Remember:
- Perishable food should not sit out for more than two hours. In hot weather (above 90°F), food should NEVER sit out for more than one hour.
- Serve cold food in small portions, and keep the rest in the cooler. After cooking meat and poultry on the grill, keep it hot until served – at 140°F or warmer.
- Keep hot food hot by setting it to the side of the grill rack, not directly over the coals where they could overcook.
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