Barbecuing this weekend? You might want to read this first…

With the Memorial Day holiday upon us, many here in the Inland Empire and elsewhere are heading out to the beach, to the park or simply to the backyard to barbecue or have a picnic.

Dine 909 is watching out for you, because we don’t want you to spend your long weekend dealing with a bout of food poisoning.

To that end, we’re passing along some tips from the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health, Environmental Health Services:

  • Thaw Safely — Completely thaw meat and poultry before grilling so it cooks more evenly. Use the refrigerator for slow safe thawing. You can use a microwave  to defrost if the food will be placed immediately on the grill.
  • Marinating — Marinate food in the refrigerator not on the counter. Poultry and cubed meat or  stew meat can be marinated up to 2 days.
  • Transporting — When carrying food to another location, keep it cold to minimize bacterial growth. Use an insulated cooler with sufficient ice or ice packs to keep the food at 41 F or below. Pack food from the refrigerator into the cooler just before leaving home.
  • Keep Cold Food Cold — Keep meat and poultry refrigerated until ready to use. Only take out meat and poultry that will immediately be placed on the grill. When using a cooler, keep it directly out of the sun by placing it in the shade. Avoid opening the lid too often, which lets cold air out and warm air in. Pack beverages in one cooler and perishables in another.
  • Precooking — Precooking food partially in the microwave, oven, or stove is a good way of reducing grilling time. Just make sure that the food goes immediately on the preheated grill to complete cooking.
  • Cook thoroughly — Cook food to a safe minimum internal temperature to destroy harmful bacteria. Meat and poultry cooked on a grill often browns very fast on the outside. Use a food thermometer to be sure the food has reached a safe minimum internal temperature. Beef, veal, pork and lamb steaks, roasts, and chops should be cooked to minimum internal temperature of 145F for 15 seconds. Hamburgers made of ground beef should reach a minimum internal temperature of 158F. All poultry should reach a minimum internal temperature of 165F for 15 seconds.
  • Reheating — When reheating fully cooked meats like hotdogs, grill to a minimum internal temperature of 165 for 15 seconds.
  • Keep Hot Food Hot — After cooking meat and poultry on the grill, keep it hot until served at a minimum internal temperature of 135F or warmer.
  • Serving the Food — When taking food off the grill, use a clean platter. Don’t put cooked food on the same platter that held raw meat or poultry. Any harmful bacteria present in the raw meat juices left on counters, platters, or utensils could contaminate safely cooked food. In hot weather (above 90 F), food should never sit out for more than one hour.
  • Leftovers — Refrigerate any leftovers promptly in shallow containers. Discard any food left out more than 2 hours (1 hour if temperatures are above 90F).

For more information on safe food handling practices, contact the SBCDPHEHS at (909) 884-4056 or visit their Web site here.

Dine 909 wishes you a safe holiday!