Safe Outdoor Grilling Tips for Your Next Summer Barbecue

For most people summer just would not be summer if they could not get outside, at least occasionally, fire up the grill and enjoy a backyard barbecue. In fact, outdoor grilling has become even more popular over the last few years as more and more homeowners - and even apartment dwellers - have made the move from a simple grill and patio set arrangement to building full blown outdoor kitchens in order to enjoy al fresco dining even more.

However simple or sophisticated your grilling set up might be you do have to keep safety in mind, much in the same way as you would in your indoor kitchen and there are in fact some special considerations to keep in mind when preparing and grilling food in the great outdoors. Here are some important tips, as shared and approved by WebMD.com.

Keep Food Types Separate

If they are planning a big barbecue most 'grill chefs' prepare several different types of food in order to offer a varied menu. Even though you may be working with less space than you have in your kitchen indoors it is still very important that food types be kept separate to avoid cross contamination. Use separate cutting boards for meats, vegetables and fruits and never use a knife, or other cooking utensil, that has been used to prepare one food type on another before you have washed and cleaned it thoroughly.

Cleanliness is Key.. And That Applies to You Too

Outdoor cookery does tend to be a great deal more of a hands on activity so it is a must that those hands are clean! Wash your hand before handling any food and wash your hands again when working with different types of ingredients. If you have enlisted any sous chefs or cooking assistants, or even servers, make sure that they do the same too.

Don't Go for Rare

Everyone loves a nice juicy burger or a tender chicken breast but that does not mean that you should undercook meat on the grill as that is simply not safe. The difficulty faced when grilling is that a piece of meat can look done from the outside but inside it may be a very different story. This is where a good meat thermometer comes in very handy.

What is a good internal temperature to ensure that various meats are cooked to a point where they are safe to serve? For most poultry (chicken, turkey etc.) 73 C (165F) is just right and the same holds true for pork and even hot dogs. With beef products you can get away with a temperature as low as 62C (145F) if you have been asked to prepare a steak that is medium rare.

Beware of Bugs

Bugs are more than just an annoyance they are a health hazard too. as gross as it sounds (and it is) insects of all kinds carry germs and bacteria on their feet and so a fly landing on your food means that it really should be discarded as for all you know that fly could have been paddling in the garbage just a few minutes ago.

If you are dining outside it is hard to keep the bugs away but there are some precautions you can take. Lighting citronella candles can help - bugs hate the stuff - and keeping food covered right up to minute it is served is the best idea as well.

Dealing with Leftovers

If you find that you have leftover meat that is not going to be consumed that day as long as it is refrigerated within two hours of cooking then it should be safe to store for a day or two.