Grilling Made Easy and Safe

May 23, 2011 | Peggy Martin

Grilling Made Easy and Safe

May is National Barbecue Month LogoAccording to a recent poll most of us think that cooking outdoors is easy, costs less, is more economical than dining out and encourages time outdoors.

My three favorite reasons to grill are: 1) it tastes good, 2) I don’t have to heat up the kitchen, and 3) cleanup is easier.  When done right, grilling meat and poultry is a healthy option because the excess fat drips away. Just avoid flame-ups and remove charred areas from meat before eating to avoid the development of potential carcinogens (cancer causing substances).

Hot dogs and hamburger are frequently on sale. Take advantage of special bulk prices on ground beef and make your own patties.  Lay your patties on a wax paper lined cookie sheet so they don’t stick together, freeze completely, and then transfer them to a freezer container for storage.  This way you can take out as many as you need for one grilling session.

Hot dogs and smoked bratwurst are easy to prepare because they are already fully cooked.  Just keep them cold until you are ready to grill and then make sure they are thoroughly reheated and steaming hot.  Fresh sausages, like fresh Italian and fresh bratwurst, need to be cooked slowly and evenly over mature coals until the sausage is gray throughout and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the sausage reads 160°F for meat sausage and 165°F for poultry sausage. Fresh sausage may be parboiled in water for 15 minutes and then grilled.  However, grilling should immediately follow parboiling; interrupted cooking is not recommended.

Hamburger on grill with meat therometer showing temperatureHamburgers are more difficult.  The trick is to get them to medium (160°F) doneness, until no longer pink in the center and juices show no pink color, without getting them charred on the outside.  It is not safe to eat rare hamburger because the process of grinding distributes any E. coli or other bacteria throughout the meat.  And now experts say the color of meat is no longer considered a reliable indicator of ground beef safety.  A meat thermometer is the most reliable way to reduce risk of food-borne illness. Cook burger to 160 degrees and put them on a clean plate or platter.

Here’s more information on grilling:

Becoming the Grill Master


-pointers by Peggy

Peggy Martin

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