Grilling Basics

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As the weather is getting warmer more people start cooking with their outside grill. Grilling is a fun, easy, and quick way of cooking that usually doesn’t leave behind too much of a mess. Most likely if a person grills regularly they know a little about grilling safety, but here are some safety tips for those that
might not grill often.

  1. Before starting to grill open the lid to make sure the inside looks good with no debris and there are no birds that have made nests.
  2. Keep the grill away from the side of the house and from porch railings.
  3. When turning on the grill make sure to first open the lid before turning on the gas. After opening the lid, turn on propane tank, turn on knobs of grill burner and last push the ignite button (if your grill has one).
  4. If your grill does not ignite, you must turn off the propane and wait 5 (five) minutes for the gas to dissipate before attempting to ignite again.
  5. When you turn off your grill, turn off the propane tank first to prevent any excess gas from leaking out. After turning off the propane tank then turn off the grill burners.
  6. To check for gas leaks, make a soapy water solution and put into a spray bottle. Spray solution at connection points and along hose. Turn on the propane and if bubbles form then you know you have a leak.

As for food safety while grilling, here are a few tips for keeping your food safe to eat.

  1. Always wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water and dry with a paper towel. You should wash your hands often, especially any time after you touch raw meat and are starting a new task.
  2. Use separate utensils, plates, and cutting boards for raw meat and for cooked meat and other ready-to-eat foods. Always wash dishes that have been in contact with raw meat with soapy water and rinse thoroughly. We do not want to have any cross contamination, which is when ready-to-eat foods come in contact with a surface that has not been cleaned after being exposed to raw meats.
  3. Do not reuse marinades.
  4. Cook all meats to the safe internal temperature based off the type of meat you are grilling. Do not base “doneness” off of color or meat liquid. For example, chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperature should be checked with a food thermometer at the thickest part of the meat product.
  5. Food should be eaten within 2 (two) hours of being cooked. Leftovers should be refrigerated as soon as possible or before the 2 (two) hour mark.

So as you fire up the grill this season keep in mind these safety tips for a summer full of fun cooking out at home.

Try this recipe for tasty spicy grilled vegetable tacos from the Med instead of Meds program.

Spicy Vegetable Tacos