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BBQ

Barbecue tips for food

Last Updated July 23, 2007

To diminish the threat of food-borne illness, consumers should use a meat thermometer to ensure the food has been cooked throughout.
(Larry Crowe/Associated Press) To diminish the threat of food-borne illness, consumers should use a meat thermometer to ensure the food has been cooked throughout. (Larry Crowe/Associated Press)

Barbecuing food any time of the year can be fraught with the risks of food poisoning. Here are some steps that should help the barbecue enthusiast minimize those risks.

Before Cooking

  • Wash hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and hot water before and after handling food.
  • Clean and sanitize all utensils and work surfaces with a mild bleaching solution (5 ml bleach per 750 ml water) before and after use.
  • Separate utensils used for raw vs. cooked foods.
  • Make sure the barbecue is preheated before starting to cook. If you're using charcoal, make sure it is glowing before starting to cook.
  • Keep raw foods away from cooked foods and never use the same tray for raw and cooked foods.
  • If taking food to a barbecue, keep meats to be barbecued in a separate cooler from beverages and other food items.

During Cooking

  • Pre-cook poultry in the oven or microwave if possible.
  • Use a meat thermometer to make sure all meat reaches a safe internal temperature.
  • Check your beef burger with a thermometer � a hamburger is safe to eat once its internal temperature reaches 71 C.
  • Raise the height of the grill or reduce the heat of the barbecue so food will not burn.
Safe cooking temperature chart
Food Cooking result Temperature
Beef steaks, veal steaks, roasts Medium-Rare 63 C
  Medium 71 C
  Well done 77 C
Ground beef, pork, veal Cooked through 71 C
Ground chicken, turkey Cooked through 74 C
Chicken, turkey, whole Cooked through 85 C
Source: Canadian Food Inspection Agency

After Cooking

  • Keep serving bowls covered.
  • Put cooked food on a clean plate.
  • Eat food as soon as it is ready.
  • Clean and sanitize all cooking and eating utensils and work surfaces with a mild bleach solution.
  • Store leftovers in separate shallow, covered containers in the refrigerator and eat within two days. Reheat leftovers to 74�C.

Food facts

  • Keep your refrigerator at 4�C or colder and your freezer at -18�C or colder.
  • Examine food carefully before you use it. Look for mould growth, damaged packaging and unusual odours, colours or texture.
  • Thaw foods in the refrigerator or in the microwave. Do not thaw food at room temperature because bacteria can breed as the surface warms.

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External Links

Canadian Barbecue Association
BBQ recipes from Ron Shewchuk's website

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