As the weather gets warmer, cooking outdoors gets more popular. Grilling food can be a fun and healthy activity for the whole family. Here are some cooking and safety tips for a great grilling season.
When shopping, make meat, poultry, or seafood your last item to pick up before checkout. This way the items stay cool on your trip home. Keep raw meat and poultry in separate bags from the rest of your groceries.
Look for lean cuts of meat and poultry, which are naturally low in saturated fats. Lean cuts of beef or pork usually include the words “round” or “loin” in the name such as top round or tenderloin. Skinless chicken or turkey will also be lower in saturated fat.
Fresh meats and poultry should be refrigerated or frozen as soon as possible after purchase. If kept in the refrigerator, use poultry or ground meat within two days and whole cuts of beef or pork within five days.
If you plan to freeze them, wrap the meat tightly in freezer paper, plastic wrap, a zip-close plastic bag meant for freezing. Use ground meats within 3 months of freezing. Remember to thaw frozen meats in the refrigerator or under cool running water until completely thawed. Learn more about freezing in our blog on The Art of Freezing.
Use a clean, moist cloth or paper towel to clean the grill surface before cooking. If you use a wire bristle brush, double-check to make sure there are no bristles left on the grill surface before cooking.
When cooked on the grill, meat and poultry tend to brown quickly on the outside so using a food thermometer is important. You can also precook the meat in a microwave or oven to shorten grilling time.
145°F – whole cuts of beef, pork, and lamb; allow the meat to rest 3 minutes before eating
145°F – seafood
160°F – ground beef, pork, and lamb
165°F – poultry and hot dogs
Add some marinade! A marinade is an acidic sauce that adds flavor and makes the meat more tender before cooking. Meats can be marinated up to 2 days in the refrigerator. Try ONIE Chimichurri sauce for a flavorful marinade.
Don’t forget the veggies! Try some summertime vegetables that are great on the grill such as eggplant, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, and squash. Find these veggies at your local farmers market.