Summer BBQs: how to avoid a food poisoning disaster

Watermelon

Here’s a common one. You’re staring at the meat on the barbie wondering: is it cooked inside?

This isn’t the first time this has happened you realise. In fact, you spend far longer than you’d like to admit pacing back and forth to the kitchen when you’re cooking indoors. Surely the meat is ready now!

Back to the present. 

It’s not just food at stake at this BBQ is it? There’s a generous serving of pride.

You don’t want to be the fool with the big tongs with your mates and family around. 

No one wants the day ruined with undercooked chicken and you don’t want the shame of having to throw it back on the barbie after you’ve called that the food’s ready.

And you’d rather not cook everything until it’s as tough as an old boot to be on the safe side; there has to be some kind of middle ground.

And there is. Your shot at glory lies somewhere in the brief moments between undercooked and overcooked. 

The solution? 

A simple food thermometer. 

This dorky needle can tell you whether the food you’re cooking has reached the Australian safe standard of 75°C inside.* 

And with tender meats a certainty, you can get on with enjoying the day. 

Sure, you’ll get peppered with compliments on your culinary skills, but that’s your life of adoration now that you’ve mastered the food thermometer game.

Here are a few more tips you might not know to keep your stomach from the danger zone:

Do

  • Serve hard cheeses – these deal with higher temps better than their soft cousins
  • Cook minced meats to 75°C in the middle to avoid trouble
  • Use at least 2 chopping boards – one for raw meats and one for cooked and ready to eat foods (you’ll still need to wash and dry them well though) 
  • Refrigerate leftovers before they’ve been out on the table for more than 2 hours 
  • Learn about the danger zone (see chart below) 

0 to 2 hours

Use immediately,
or keep at or below 5ºC,
or at or above 60ºC 

2 to 4 hours

Use immediately

 

More than 4 hours

Throw away

 

Don’t

  • Put fruit or vegies that won’t be peeled or cooked straight into a trolley, basket or reusable bag – use a recyclable plastic bag 
  • Wash poultry before cooking – you’ll just spread bacteria in your sink
  • Keep homemade mayonnaise or aioli – eat foods with raw egg immediately and throw out the rest
  • Leave food to cool before refrigerating – you can pop it in the fridge as soon as it has stopped steaming

Where can you get a food thermometer?

A quick Google shows that you can get one at your local supermarket, homewares store or anywhere that sells barbeques.

Add a thermometer to your shopping list (or retrieve it forgotten from your kitchen drawer) to enjoy a summer of well cooked meats and BBQ mastery.

 

*foodstandards.gov.au

 

References:

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