Barbecue and Picnic Food Safety

With Memorial Day weekend unofficially kicking off the summer season, chances are you’ll be hosting or attending some picnics and barbecues in the near future.  These events are a fun way to gather family and friends, and to celebrate special occasions.  There are a few challenges as far as food safety is concerned, however.  Follow these tips to keep everybody healthy!

Food should be marinated in the refrigerator.  Marinating on the counter can breed harmful bacteria.  Never reuse marinade that has contained raw meat.

Picnic plate full of assorted food.

Picnic plate full of assorted food. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Don’t mix raw and cooked meats.  This may seem obvious, but it’s not uncommon for people to use a plate for raw food, and then re-use it to place the cooked meat on.  Be sure to keep raw meat away from any cooked foods, and thoroughly wash plates and utensils that have touched any raw meats or seafood.

Thoroughly cook meat.  Use a meat thermometer to ensure that meat reaches 165°F.To be safe, cook hamburgers and steaks so they are brown all the way through if you don’t have a meat thermometer.  Chicken should not have any pink in the center at all.  If you thaw or partially cook meat in the microwave, transfer it directly to the hot grill.

Hot foods should be kept hot.  Serve food in insulated containers or on buffet-style sterno candle heated serving platters.  Hot food should be eaten within 2 hours of preparation.

Cold foods should be kept chilled.  Keep foods like potato salad, macaroni salad, and desserts in the refrigerator until it is time to serve them.  To serve, place in a container filled with ice to keep cold during the barbecue.

Wrap leftovers within 2 hours of serving.  Foods should be wrapped properly and saved in either the refrigerator or freezer.  If it’s really hot outside (90° or higher) food should be wrapped within 1 hour of serving.

Barbecues are a time to have fun and enjoy the beautiful weather!  Though it’s not pleasant to think about, food poisoning can be a very real danger if barbecue food is not handled, prepared, and served properly.  Follow the guidelines above to ensure a great, SAFE time at your next picnic or barbecue!

If you’re looking for a flavor twist at your next barbecue, try grilling or marinading with MEESH’S® Chicken Wing Sauce.  Your guests will wonder what your secret is!

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