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BBQing is one of America’s favorite pastimes, especially during Fourth of July weekend.ChicagoHealers.com Dr. Martha Howard M.D. provided the following tips for staying safe during summer grilling:

  • Clean the grill: get rid of the old fats left over from previous meals.
  • Avoid petroleum starters for charcoal: If you use charcoal, use a wood starter and stack your charcoal up in a 2 pound metal can with the ends cut off. Lift off the can with tongs and spread out the coals when they are well started.
  • Proper timing: Avoid a time gap between opening the valve and starting the grill.
  • Wash your hands: Keep your hands clean and use separate plates and cutting boards for raw and cooked meats. Be sure to wash hands again before putting on long, heat-proof barbecue gloves.
  • Trim meat: Trim most of the fat from meat; less fat means fewer PAHs.
  • Use marinades: This protects the meat from charring. Put the marinade on, and refrigerate until use. Don’t let meat sit out.
  • Pre-cooking: Use pre-cooking prior to grilling, especially for items like raw brats. Avoid taking burgers, chicken or other meats directly from the freezer to the grill.
  • Cutting techniques: Cut meat and chicken into smaller pieces so they cook through.
  • Flipping: Turn down the fire, and turn your burgers, steaks, chops, or chicken often, so they cook through, and come out golden brown.
  • Meat thermometer: If you are cooking a thicker portion of meat or chicken, use a meat thermometer.

* Chicken: 165 degrees
* Hamburger: 160 degrees
* Pork: 150 degrees
* Hot dogs: 140 degrees
* Steak: 145 degrees for medium rare and 160 degrees for medium.

  • Cleaning up: At the end of the barbecue, be sure to put out your charcoal completely, and if you are using propane, be sure the valve is turned off.

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