ENID, Okla. —
• Grill it right! When grilling, the only safe way to determine doneness is to use a calibrated food thermometer. Reaching a safe minimum internal temperature ensures that harmful bacteria will be destroyed. Cook poultry to 165 degrees, ground beef to 160 degrees and beef steaks and pork chops to 145 degrees.
• Serve it safe! When taking foods off the grill, put them on a clean plate. Don’t put cooked food on a platter that held raw meat. Raw meat and poultry juices are full of bacteria that could contaminate the cooked product. Bring ample long handle serving spoons and tongs to minimize possible contamination by bare hand contact with foods. Disposable plates, cups, and silverware minimize clean-up and the risk of cross contamination.
• Clean up! Try to plan the right amount of perishable foods to take. That way, you won’t have to worry about the storage or safety of leftovers. If you do have leftovers, place leftover perishable food promptly in the cooler. Remember the two-hour rule! It’s one hour if it is over 90 degrees outside. Remember garbage bags, twist ties and other clean-up supplies. The final tailgating clean-up is an important step before you leave for the game.
Nickels, MS, RD/LD, is Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service Family and Consumer Sciences educator for Garfield County.