What are some tips for a better BBQ?
Barbequing is an art form. Here are some tips and tricks to make your food become a masterpiece.
- Defrosting - Completely defrost your meat and poultry before grilling it. This way it will cook more evenly. Use the refrigerator for slow, safe thawing or thaw sealed packages in cold water. You can use a microwave defrost if the food will be placed immediately on the barbecue grill. When defrosting food in the refrigerator, keep it in a sealed plastic food storage container to avoid cross contamination.
- Marinating - Marinate food in the refrigerator, not on the counter. If some of the marinade is to be used as a sauce on the cooked food, reserve a portion of the marinade in a separate container before putting raw meat and poultry in it. Do not use used marinade for sauce!
- Transporting - When carrying food to another location, keep it cold to minimize bacterial growth. Use an insulated cooler with sufficient ice or blue ice packs to keep the food at 40 °F or below. Pack food right from the refrigerator into the cooler immediately before leaving home. Keep the cooler in the coolest part of the car.
- Keep Cold Food Cold - Keep meat and poultry refrigerated until you are ready to use it. Only take out the meat and poultry that will immediately be placed on the grill. When using a cooler, keep it out of the direct sun by placing it in the shade or shelter. Avoid opening the lid too often, which lets cold air out and warm air in. Pack beverages in one cooler and perishables in a separate cooler.
- Cook Foods Thoroughly - Cook food to a safe internal temperature to destroy harmful bacteria. Meat and poultry cooked on a barbecue grill often browns very fast on the outside. Use a food thermometer to be sure the food has reached a safe internal temperature.
- Keep Hot Food Hot - After cooking meat and poultry on the barbecue grill, keep it hot until served - at 140 °F or warmer. Keep cooked meats hot by setting them to the side of the grill rack, not directly over the coals where they could overcook. At home, the cooked meat can be kept hot in a warm oven (approximately 200 °F), in a chafing dish, on a slow cooker or on a warming tray.
- Leftovers - Refrigerate any leftovers promptly in shallow food storage containers. Discard any food left out more than two hours (one hour if temperatures are above 90 °F).