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Grilling and Chilling

Hot off the grill

Summertime means grilling time. Although summer is the traditional time for grilling and chilling, many of us grill all year long. Did you know that according to a survey conducted by the American Dietetic Association, nearly 48% of all Americans fire up the barbecue year round. How popular is grilling in America? During the summer months, approximately 83% of American families use the grill. What types of grills are Americans using? 60% use gas grills, 38% use charcoal grills and 2% prefer smokers.

Nothing is more fun than an outdoor barbecue, but with many cooks helping out, food safety may be at risk. 50% of all summer hosts admit to leaving food out buffet-style for multiple hours. Who really thinks that they are practicing safer food techniques? 43% of men claim that they practice safer food safety when grilling, while 40% of women state that they should receive the prize. The truth is, that the rate of food borne illness actually increases during the summer months. So if you are a grill gourmet, make sure you beef up your food safety.

Here are some hot-off-the-grill tips.
• Clean your grill by scrubbing it with hot, soapy water before every use.
• Heat your grill to proper temperatures prior to putting any food on it, this helps eliminate any potentially harmful bacteria.
• Wash your hands before, during and after preparing food. Don’t forget to wash your hand for at least 20 seconds.
• Wipe down all surfaces with warm water before during and after food preparation.
• Thaw meats in the refrigerator.
• Marinate meats in the refrigerator and don’t reuse the marinate, unless it has been boiled to a proper temperature.
• When applying the marinate to meats, use a separate brush for raw meats and cooked meats.
• Use separate cutting boards for raw meats and vegetables.
• Use separate plates and cooking utensils for raw foods and cooked foods.
• Wash your produce with white wine vinegar and water to remove pesticides.
• Never partially grill meat or poultry to finish cooking at a later time.• Cook all food to the proper temperature.
     o Hamburger 160°F
     o Roast and Steaks 145°F – 160°F (medium-rare), 170°F (well done)
     o Ground Turkey 165°F
     o Chicken Breast and Roasts 170°F
     o Chicken Thighs, Wings, Drumsticks 180°F
• Remember the one hour rule. If the temperature outside is 90°F or higher, perishable foods should not sit out of the refrigerator for longer than one hour.
• After foods have been sitting out for 1 hr, refrigerate them properly in a refrigerator of 40°F or below.

• Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.
• Remember, when in doubt, throw it out and only store food for the recommended amount of time. After that throw it out.
     o Cooked Fresh Vegetables 3-4 days
     o Cooked Rice 1 week
     o Cooked Pasta 3-5 days
     o Deli Meats 5 days
     o Hot Dogs Opened 1 week
     o Cooked Meats 3-4 days
     o Seafood 2 days
     o Soup 3-4 days

There are all types of healthy foods to grill up. Try grilling some salmon, herring or trout to increase the healthy omega 3’s in your diet. Grilling chicken breast with the fat removed or turkey burgers instead of beef or pork will help reduce the fat in your diet. If you prefer to grill beef or pork, buy and grill leaner meats such as loin or round cuts of meat. Don’t forget to pile on the vitamins and minerals by grilling healthy vegetables. Make sure that at least half of the grill is loaded with vegetables. You can easily season vegetables for grilling by dabbling on a little extra-virgin olive oil, a dash of sea salt and pepper. For dessert, grill some fruit and serve them over frozen yogurt or slow churned ice cream. An easy way to grill fruit is to make fruit kabobs (i.e., pineapple, peaches, banana, etc.) and grill them on low heat until the fruit is hot and slightly golden.

Summer is fun, enjoy some summer exercise, and then get grilling.