10 Tips For Safe Grilling.

Anytime you handle or prepare meat, chicken or seafood you need to take extra precautions to prevent food-borne illnesses. Learn why and how to...
It's summer again, time to take out your beloved grill and exercise your outdoor culinary skills. Like physicians, grill masters should do no harm.

The trick is doing no harm in the process which is not as simple as it sounds. Anytime you handle or prepare meat, chicken or seafood (hereafter referred to as meat) you need to take extra precautions to prevent food-borne illnesses — illnesses that occur when food is poorly handled or improperly cooked.

Burned meat and higher heat can also create compounds that may increase cancer risk. So are flare-ups from dripping fat and smoke that coats and blackens the meat. However, for metabolic dieters and others who crave their grilled meat more than their potatoes, all are not lost yet.


10 Tips For Grilling With Care


1. Prepare a safe grilling space.

    Your grill zone should be well ventilated and use only approved fire starters for charcoal grill.

    Make the grill zone kids free and be sure to gear up - flameproof mitts, cooking utensils with long handles and a squirt bottle of water.

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2. Clean the grilling surface thoroughly before cooking.

    Stay away from carcinogen (cancer-causing substances). Remove charred food debris. Scrub the grilling surface with a wire grill brush to loosen charred food particles. Then, rub the grilling surface with vegetable oil using a paper towel, or coat the grate with nonstick cooking spray. This prevents the food from sticking.


3. Heat the grill before adding food.

    5-10 minutes would do to kill those harmful bacteria. If using a charcoal grill, wait until the charcoal turns ash white.


4. If you use charcoal, let the stater fluid burn off before putting food on the grill.

    Squirting starter fluid on smoldering charcoal is a definite no-no.


5. Completely defrost meat before grilling so that it cooks evenly.

    Thaw meat in the refrigerator rather than at room temperature. To defrost meat faster, use the microwave or place sealed packages of meat in cold water. Grill the meat immediately after defrosting. After grilling, remove any charred or blackened material from the food's surface.


6. Heat foods first that require long cooking times.

    Microwave, boil or bake foods then grill them briefly for that smoky, outdoor flavor. 'Butterfly' thick pieces of meat. Cut the meat down the center almost all of the way through, leaving a portion attached. Then, place the meat on the grill. The meat will fan out and look like butterfly wings, hence the name.


7. Never mix uncooked meats with cooked ones.

    Harmful bacteria just love to contaminate safe meat. Be careful about juices from uncooked meat. If you need to use container that have had raw meat, then wash them first with soap and water.


8. Marinate food, and do it in the refrigerator rather than on the counter.

    Marinades can enhance flavor, tenderize and keep foods moist while grilling. Try mixtures of herbs or spices with wine, soy sauce or lemon juice. If you plan to use the same marinade later as a table sauce, boil it for at least three minutes to kill any bacteria present. You may need to strain the marinade to remove any blood that coagulated during cooking.

    Marinades also have health benefits - they reduce cancer causing substances called heterocyclic amines (HCAs). These occur when you burn or char muscle meats — red meat, chicken and fish — over high heat. Although studies show HCAs cause cancer in animals, researchers haven't yet established a direct link to cancer in humans.


9. Avoid fire flare-ups by using lean meats and meat trimmed of visible fat.

    Raise the rack to the highest position away from the heat or adjust the flame to low on a gas grill. Keep food slightly to the side of the heat source rather than directly over it. You can also place foil under the meat to prevent flare-ups. Use a squirt bottle of water to douse any high flames.


10. Cook meats until no longer pink on the inside.

    Turn meat at least once during grilling to help cook it evenly. Use an instant-read thermometer placed into the deepest part of the meat — but not right next to the bone — to check to see if the meat is done. Temperatures vary depending on the type of meat.

Types Of Food Temperature
Beef, veal, lamb (whole cuts)
Medium-rare 160 F
Medium 160 F *
Well-done 170 F

Pork
Medium 160 F
Well-done 170 F

Poultry
Ground chicken or turkey 165 F
Poultry breasts 170 F
Whole poultry and thighs 180 F

Fish & Seafood 145 F

* Cook ground meat to at least this temperature.


Conclusion

Enjoy. Go easy on carbs and saturated fats and don't forget to exercise.

How Often Do You Cook Outside On A Grill?
Once A Week.
Two-Three Times A Week.
Four-Five Times A Week.
Everyday!

Sources:

  1. Mayo Clinic/CNN