Sunday, May 27, 2012
Healthy Summer Grilling & Picnic Safety Tips
- Start with lean poultry or meat alternatives such as veggie burgers or tofu instead of brats and hot dogs.
- Choose meats ending in “loin” or “round” and extra lean ground sirloin for burgers.
- Then load up on grilled vegetables. Marinade asparagus spears in olive oil, minced garlic and pepper, and grill several minutes. Or brush eggplant slices with olive oil, lime juice and sprinkle with Cajun seasonings and grill. Mix cubed sweet potato, squash, potato, onion and red pepper with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, thyme and rosemary. Wrap in foil, grill and taste the blend of incredible flavors.
Correct grilling technique reduces formation of cancer causing chemicals in meat from high temperatures, flames and smoke from dripping fat and juice:
- Keep meat away from direct flames, flip often and drain juice.
- Precook meat and use thinner cuts to reduce grilling time.
- Cook on a grill covered with punctured aluminum foil. Avoid well done meat, and remove blackened areas.
- Marinade meats with blends of citrus, lemon juice or vinegar and herbs such as oregano, basil, sage and rosemary. Marinades tenderize, add flavor, and reduce formation of chemicals by protecting meat from charring. Use one half cup marinade per pound of food and always marinade in the refrigerator.
- Use a thermometer to check for internal temperature of 165 degrees F for poultry and pork, and 145 degrees F for veal, lamb and beef.
Picnic safety tips
- Clean grill before using to rid charred build-up.
- Make extra marinate for basting; avoid using marinate meat was soaked in.
- Use a clean plate for finished meats, not the same plate the uncooked meat was on.
- Refrigerate perishable foods after two hours, one hour if temperature is above 90 degrees F.
- Keep cold food in cooler on ice at 40 degrees F and hot food on warming trays or slow cooker at 140 degrees F.
- For food safety questions, the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline is available 10 am-4 pm (Eastern time): (800) 535-4555.
Spicy Grilled Chicken Recipe
Ingredients for Marinade
2 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp paprika
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp plain yogurt
4 chicken breasts
- Mix marinade ingredients well, and then coat chicken pieces.
- Marinate 1 hour up to overnight in refrigerator.
- Grill over medium heat until browned. About 15 minutes on each side (depending on size of chicken breast), or until internal temperature of 165 F.
Note: For added heat, add ½ tsp cayenne pepper to marinade.