Five Questions: Grill Master
Q: What do I need to know before getting started?
A: Keep beef refrigerated and never thaw at room temperatures. If needed, thaw in the microwave, but avoid over heating. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before and after handling beef. Avoid cross-contamination by separating raw and ready-to-eat foods.
Q: What safety tips should I be aware of prior to putting meat on the grill?
A: In warm temperatures, it may only take an hour for food to enter the danger zone — the unsafe temperatures between 40 degrees F and 140 degrees F. When removing food from the refrigerator, either promptly cook it or place it back in the refrigerator or cooler to ensure freshness, quality and safety.
Q: At what temperature should I cook with the grill?
A: Use medium heat when cooking on the grill. High heat can overcook or char the outside of beef cuts, while the interior remains underdone. Check cooking temperatures by cautiously holding the palm of your hand above the coals at cooking height. Count the number of seconds you can hold your hand in that position before the heat forces you to pull it away; approximately four seconds for medium heat.
Q: How long should I cook hamburgers and steaks?
A: The proper internal temperature for ground beef is 160 degrees F and 145 degrees F for steaks and beef roasts. Check the temperature of your burgers and steaks by placing an instant-read thermometer horizontally into the side of the meat and inserting all the way to the center. Not only will the correct temperature keep your food safe, but properly cooked food tastes better than over- or under-cooked food.
Q: Once I’ve finished cooking, what do I need to be aware of safety wise?
A: Take a clean plate with you to the grill for your cooked food. Never use the same plate for raw and cooked meat.