How to Make Outdoor Cooking Fun and Safe for the Entire Family
It’s officially grilling season. Let’s get everyone outside!
Summer is around the corner, meaning your family can finally enjoy the sun. When the afternoon begins to wind down and it’s time for dinner, nobody ever wants to go indoors. So, to keep enjoying those precious summer moments, here are a few tips for safely cooking outside.
Keep Kids Three Feet Away from the Grill
Don’t let fun in the sun end with an injury, especially when it comes to the grill. Make it a rule that all kids need to be three feet away from the grill at all times. So, even when the grill is off, little hands aren’t tempted to play with it.
Watch the Temperature Outside and in Your Food
As temperatures rise, everyone needs to grab more sunscreen and drink plenty of water. Be careful to also remember the rising temperature in your food, as well. Grab a food thermometer and make sure everything is cooked to the correct degree. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following:
- 145°F for whole cuts of beef or pork
- 160°F for ground meats
- 165°F for all poultry, including ground chicken and turkey
- 145°F for fin fish, or cook until the flesh is opaque
Take Care of Your Grill Before You Start Cooking
Before you break out the hamburgers and hot dogs, make sure your grill is summer ready. Start by positioning the grill away from items like siding, the porch or deck railings. Experts agree that grills should remain 10 feet away from your home and any foot traffic. Remember to also clean its surface and clear out the grease tray.
Pro-tip: Keeping a spray bottle of water next to the grill is great for putting out flames that get too big.
Cool Down the Right Way
When your family gets hot, popsicles are the perfect treat to cool down, but don’t forget that your grill needs to cool down, too. If you have a gas grill, be sure to turn the gas off completely, clean the grill and double check for buildup that could cause a fire the next time you turn on the grill. If you are using charcoal, allow the coals to burn out before storing them in a metal container. To avoid possible fires, never put the ashes into a paper bag or garbage can.
Leftovers – When to Keep and When to Toss
When it comes to leftovers, the CDC suggests putting food into the fridge right after eating and tossing anything that has been sitting out for over an hour.