Sponsored – Whether you’re at the pre-game tailgate, a picnic in the park, camping in the deep woods or just having a neighborhood block party, preparing and cooking food outside of the kitchen can be an exciting and delicious experience. Learn the tips and tricks to having a tasty, safe and properly cooked meal in the great outdoors.
Preparing the Meal
Preparing what you can before you leave the kitchen will set you up for success to cook the meal. Measure ingredients for each meal and pack in labeled zip top bags to save time and space. Pre-made seasonings and sauces in their own bags can help with saving space and time on meal preparation.
Making entire meals ahead of time is another option. Meals like stews, chili, burritos and fajitas can all be made and prepped ahead of time. Meals like soups and stews can be frozen and kept cold in a cooler until it’s time to reheat.
Before preparing or handling food, it is always important to wash your hands to prevent food poisoning or food borne illness. Proper hand washing is especially important after handling raw meat, such as ground beef. You don’t want to transfer any germs around the kitchen! So, how long do you need to wash your hands? Wet and scrub hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and dry hands off with a clean towel to prevent the spread of germs.
Keep things Cool and Separate
It’s especially important to keep perishable foods cool while enjoying a summer picnic to prevent food borne illness (bacteria can grow rapidly on food between 40 and 140°F or “the temperature danger zone” ). Use a cooler to keep food cool and make sure it is stocked with frozen gel ice packs. It is also important to keep perishable food in a separate cooler than beverages, because the beverage cooler may be opened frequently causing temperatures to fluctuate. When outdoors, keep the cooler with perishable items nice and cold by placing it in the shade.
Use a Thermometer
Who doesn’t love a perfectly cooked steak? Place a thermometer in the thickest part of the steak to make sure that your steak reaches an internal temperature of at least 145°F (medium-rare) for food safety and the best eating experience. Then, let your steak rest for 3 minutes before slicing. For ground meats, such as burgers and hot dogs, the USDA recommends cooking them to a minimum internal temperature of 160°F.
Keep Hot Foods Hot
After cooking meat such as beef, it is important to keep it warm at or above 140°F (outside of the temperature danger zone) until ready to serve. You can do this by setting them on the side of a grill rack (not directly over coals), in an oven set at 200°F, in a slow cooker or chafing dish.
Let it Chill
Saving leftovers from your cookout? Leftovers should be chilled within 2 hours after cooking to keep food safe. However, if the temperature outside is 90°F or warmer, don’t let leftovers sit out for more than an hour before chilling.
For more great summer grilling recipes and info visit www.kybeef.com.