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Fresh Off the Cape Cod Grill: Home Grilling Safety Tips

Grilling outdoors is one of the best parts of summer on Cape Cod! It’s a healthy and low-fat way to cook your favorite meals, but to avoid foodborne illness and accidents, follow these tips to stay safe and prepare delicious dishes.

While grilling is simple, it’s crucial to remember safety rules for personal safety and food handling. Cooking meat and vegetables safely can keep you and your family healthy.

Here are seven tips to make grilling a happy, healthy, and nutritious experience:

  1. Wash Hands Thoroughly: Always wash your hands and wrists with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds before, during, and after handling food. Bacteria thrive in moist environments, so dry your hands thoroughly.
  2. Prevent Cross-Contamination: Use separate utensils, cutting boards, and serving dishes for raw and cooked foods. Wash each item that comes into contact with raw foods with warm, soapy water before reusing. Never serve grilled food on the same platter that held raw meat, poultry, or fish.
  3. Marinate Safely: Never thaw or marinate food at room temperature. Marinate foods in the refrigerator. If you plan to use the marinade on cooked food as a sauce, set aside a portion before adding raw meat, poultry, or seafood. If reusing marinade from raw meat, boil it first to kill any harmful bacteria.
  4. Separate Raw and Ready-to-Eat Foods: Keep raw foods that will be grilled away from foods that won’t be cooked, like salads.
  5. Grill Vegetables Easily: Large vegetables like corn on the cob can be placed directly on the grill. Wrap chopped vegetables in aluminum foil before grilling.
  6. Preheat the Grill: Make sure your grill is hot before adding food. If using a charcoal grill, preheat coals for at least 20 to 30 minutes before cooking.
  7. Use a Food Thermometer: Ensure food reaches the correct internal temperature with a food thermometer:
    • Beef, pork, veal and lamb (roast, steaks and chops): 145 °F with a three-minute “rest time” after removal from the heat source.
    • Ground meats: 160 °F
    • Poultry (whole, parts or ground): 165 °F
    • Eggs and egg dishes: 160 °F, but cook eggs until both the yolk and the white are firm; scrambled eggs should not be runny.
    • Fin fish: 145 °F
    • Shrimp, lobster and crabs: flesh pearly and opaque.
    • Clams, oysters and mussels: shells open during cooking.
    • Scallops: milky white, opaque and firm.

With these tips, you’ll be ready to enjoy a safe and delicious grilling season on the Cape! Happy grilling!