Make Your 4th of July a Memorable One
July 4th is right around the corner, which means it’s time for fireworks, swimming pools and grilling out. Whether you’re cooking up your family’s secret barbeque or making new memories around one of our chef-created recipes, nothing beats spending quality time with family and friends over a meal fresh off the grill.
This July 4th, Food Lion wants to be sure you (and your food) stay safe, so below are a few helpful grilling food safety tips to make sure you’re Fourth of July is a memorable one!
Safety tips for handling and preparing raw meat and poultry include:
- Wash your hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after handling raw meat.
- Keep fresh meat and poultry refrigerated at 40°F at all times for safety.
- Avoid the “Danger Zone!” Bacteria can grow rapidly between 40 to 140°F.
- Make sure meat is thawed completely before cooking. Also, be sure to keep it refrigerated until you’re ready to cook.
- Store perishables, including leftovers, in the refrigerator or a cooler. Use ice or gel packs inside the cooler to keep food cold.
- Do not allow any perishable food to stay unrefrigerated for more than two hours, or one hour when the outside temperature is over 90°F.
- Trim excess fat from meat to prevent fire and grease flare-ups.
- Marinate foods in the refrigerator using a glass or plastic food-safe container to keep them at the proper temperature.
Safety tips for grilling meat and poultry include:
- Clean all grilling utensils and plates before you begin grilling.
- Clean cutting boards and grilling utensils in hot, soapy water between every use.
- Use separate cutting boards for meat and vegetables.
- Make sure your grill is hot enough to cook your food. Whether your grill is charcoal or gas, always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.
- Use a meat thermometer to ensure your meat and poultry is thoroughly cooked.
- The USDA recommends safe minimum internal temperatures of 145°F for pork, beef, steaks and chops, 160°F for ground pork and beef and 165°F for turkey and chicken. Hotdogs should be served steaming hot.
- After cooking meat and poultry on the grill, keep it hot at 140°F or warmer until it’s served. If at home, cooked meat and poultry can be kept hot in an oven set at approximately 200°F.
- After your food is cooked, use a new, clean plate to place the food on.
- Discard marinades and sauces that have come in contact with raw meat juices.
Safety tips for storing leftovers include:
- Leftovers should be refrigerated promptly after cooking.
- Throw away all perishable foods that have been left at room temperature for more than 2 hours (one hour if the outside temperature is over 90°F, such as at an outdoor picnic during summer).
- Leftover meat and poultry can be stored in the refrigerator for three to four days, or frozen for three to four months.
- Divide leftovers into smaller portions. Immediately refrigerate or freeze in covered shallow containers for faster cooling.
- Reheat cooked leftovers to 165°F, as measured with a food thermometer.