Tents and tables are going up, grills are being lit and kick off is just hours away. It’s tailgate time! Make sure yours goes off without a hitch by following these food safety and safe grilling tips:
Spoiled food spoils the party. Keep cold foods cold: Serve dips, eggs or mayo-based dishes on ice, or from an insulated cooler. Keep steaks, patties and other meats in a separate cooler (inside containers so nasty juices don’t drip) until just before grilling.
Set up a grill safety zone. Keep your grill a safe distance from vehicles, away from the crowd and in an open, ventilated area to prevent carbon monoxide build-up. It also bears saying: never leave a grill unattended.
Turn up the heat. Partially cooked food doubles the risk for E. coli, so use an instant-read thermometer to make sure steaks reach an internal temp of 145-degrees (ground meat should go to 160-degrees; pork chops and chicken to 180-degrees).
Stay hydrated. On hot days, cold beer may hit the spot, but it won’t keep you hydrated; alternate between alcoholic beverages and water. Be sure your guests either take public transportation or designate a driver in advance.
Keep leftovers cool. Pack leftovers in a cooler soon after cooking, and toss any perishables that have been left out for more than an hour (chips and salsa are ok, but pack away that onion dip). If you can’t keep leftovers cold, toss them to avoid the possibility of engaging in bacteria-riddled snacking.
Drive away safely. Let coals completely cool before disposing them in a metal container. Make sure the grill, ice chest or coolers are properly secured in the back of the car and do not obstruct your view before driving away.
Got a grilling or food safety tip that we missed? Share your tips for tailgate safety below!
Guest blogger Pauline Hammerbeck is an editor for The Allstate blog, which helps people prepare for the unpredictability of life.