Our favorite parts of BBQ Season are being outside with family and friends, and of course enjoying fantastic food. But undercooking meat or eating meat that wasn’t prepared properly can put a huge damper on a fun day. To ensure your meal is the best it can be, follow these tips from the Oakland County Health Division.
Hot, Hot, Hot!
Make sure you cook meats to a safe internal temperature and check with a thermometer! Here are some magic numbers for the perfect internal temperature:
- 145° F – Steaks & roasts (beef, pork, veal & lamb) with a 3 minute rest time
- 160° F – Ground meat including beef, pork, veal & lamb
- 165° F – Ground turkey & ground chicken
- 165° F – Poultry (chicken, turkey, duck, goose & stuffing)
After you reach the perfect temperature make sure to wash the meat thermometer in hot, soapy water after each use.
Keep Food Fresh
The key to a great meal is keeping the meat fresh.
- Always marinate meat and other food in the refrigerator.
- Defrost food in the refrigerator, microwave, or under cold water. Defrosting and storing fresh food in cold temperatures slows the growth of harmful bacteria.
- Never defrost food at room temperature.
- Keep fresh or defrosted meat at 40° F or lower. A higher temperature could increase the amount of bacteria in the food and cause illness.
Separate Food Stations
Have separate areas for food prep, cooking, and serving areas. Cross-contamination is one way to spread bacteria. Keeping these areas separate keeps away any juices from raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs from ready-to-eat foods.
- Use one cutting board for fresh produce and a separate one for raw meat, poultry and seafood.
- Never place cooked food on a plate that previously held raw meat, poultry, seafood or eggs.
- Wash your hands every time you come into contact with raw meat.
- Wash any cutting boards, knives, or other equipment that was in contact with raw meat or poultry in hot soapy water or in a dishwasher before using with other foods.
- Do not partially cook meats and then continue cooking later, do it all at once.
Storing food is a big part of having a healthy dish too. Store food at safe temperatures and plan ahead if you will be going to a picnic or barbecue.
- Keep cold food cold at 40° F or below and keep hot food hot, 140° F or above.
- Transport food in a cooler with ice packs. If possible, transport raw meat, poultry or seafood in a separate cooler to avoid cross contamination.
- When outside, keep the cooler out of the sun. Avoid opening it so that it can stay as cool as possible inside.
Fruit & Veggie Etiquette
Handling fruits and vegetables correctly is important too.
- Wash all fruits and vegetables before you cut and prepare them. Bacteria can grow on the outside of these foods and can be pushed into foods by a knife if not cleaned properly.
- Store fruits and veggies in an airtight container, such as a bowl with a lid or a plastic zip lock bag.
- Perishable food should never be left out longer than two hours (one hour if the air temperature is over 90° F) unless the food is kept hot or cold.
- Be sure the cooler is packed full of ice and/or freezer packs. Food should be surrounded by ice.
For more information on food safety, visit the Oakland County Health Division’s website.