Gary Haygood > Blog > Celebrate National Grilling & National Picnic Month

Celebrate National Grilling & National Picnic Month

Jul 1, 2017 0 Blog

Everyone enjoys a great summer of grilling and picnics, and July is both National Grilling Month and National Picnic Month. What a great time of year to have your personal outdoor kitchen! Outdoor kitchens make summer entertaining easy while bringing a hefty ROI when you are ready to sell. Call me at 601.966.3581 if you want to discuss adding an outdoor kitchen or outdoor living space to your home.

Plan your menu with an eye to safe food handling.  A few precautions will help you avoid improperly prepared food. Use these grilling and picnic tips and enjoy the beautiful weather all season long:

  • Wash your hands. Use hand sanitizer when clean water isn’t readily available where you are grilling.
  • Keep food cold until you are ready to put them on the grill. Letting them sit allows bacteria to grow. Cook foods in plenty of time to thoroughly chill them in shallow containers in the refrigerator. Have enough coolers with ice or frozen gel packs in which to store the perishable foods like meat, poultry, fish, eggs and salads.  You want to keep the food at 40 degrees F.  Pack foods right from the refrigerator into the coolers.
  • Don’t mix raw and cooked foods. Keep raw foods separate from each other. Once cooked, use a clean dish to place final masterpiece. The bacteria from the raw food will contaminate the freshly cooked meal.
  • Keep hot food warm to at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit until ready to be placed in a cooler with ice or refrigerator to prevent bacteria growth. For salads and cold foods, keep them chilled on ice.
  • Do not put the cooler in the car trunk.  Carry it inside an air-conditioned car.  At picnics, keep the cooler in the shade and keep the lid closed.  Replenish the ice if it melts.
  • Use a separate cooler for drinks so the one containing the food won’t constantly be opened and closed.
  • Find out if there’s a source of safe drinking water at your destination.  If not, bring water for preparation and cleaning; or pack clean, wet, disposable cloths or moist towelettes and paper towels for cleaning hands and surfaces.  Cross-contamination during preparation, grilling, and serving food is a prime cause of food borne illness.
  • Pack raw meats, poultry, or seafood on the bottom of the cooler.  This will reduce the risk of them dripping on other foods.  Pack coolers until they are full.  A full cooler will stay cold longer than one that is partially full.
  • If you plan on getting takeout foods such as fried chicken,  Eat them within an hour of pick up.
  • Do not partially grill extra meat or poultry to use later.  Once you begin, cook until completely done to assure bacteria are destroyed.  Grill raw poultry until the juices run clear and there is no pink.  Hamburger should not be pink in the center.
  • When taking food off the grill,  Do not put the cooked items on the same platter which held the raw meat unless you have washed the platter in between uses.
  • Two Hour Rule.  Do not leave perishable food unrefrigerated for more than two hours.  Put perishable foods back in the cooler or refrigerator as soon as you finish eating.  Do not leave them out while you go for a swim or a hike, and don’t leave them out all afternoon to nibble on. Chances are, picnic leftovers have been sitting out for more than an hour or two.  Discard these leftovers.  Cold food that were kept in a cooler that still has ice may be safe.  If the ice has melted, the food should be discarded.