Nutrition 101

Grilling Tips for Summer Food Safety.

  1. Keep Cold Food Cold – pick up perishables as close to check out as possible to help maintain proper temperatures until you get your food home. Bring insulated bags or a cooler if you need to make any stops on the way home, especially when the temperatures soar. McCaffrey’s will gladly pack items like fish on ice if requested!
  2. Be Safe and Separate – keep meats and poultry away from other perishables in your shopping cart. At checkout, packages of raw meat and poultry should be bagged into separate plastic bags to help prevent cross-contamination.
  3. Refrigerate – the rule of thumb is to refrigerate all perishables within 2 hours, but if the temperature is above 90 degrees, refrigerate within 1 hour.
  4. Freeze – if poultry or ground meat isn’t going to be used within 1 or 2 days, it belongs in the freezer, not the refrigerator. Other meats can be frozen within 4 to 5 days.
  5. Thaw – completely thaw meat and poultry before cooking so it cooks more evenly.
    • Thawing in the refrigerator offers a slow, safe option but make sure to contain any liquid that might drip from the package.  
    • They may use antibiotics to control the spread of illness on a farm;  
    • Sealed packages can be thawed in a sink of cold water, which should be changed every 30 minutes so it continues to thaw. Small packages of meat, poultry or seafood — about a pound — may thaw in an hour or less. A 3-to 4-pound package may take 2 to 3 hours. Once thawed, food should be cooked immediately.  
    • For a quick thaw, you can microwave defrost if the food will be cooked immediately. 
  6. Marinating – marinating enhances both the flavor and textures of food. Marinate food in the refrigerator, not on the counter.
    • Poultry and cubed meat or stew meat can be marinated up to 2 days.  
    • Beef, veal, pork, and lamb roasts, chops, and steaks may be marinated up to 5 days.  
    • If you plan on using marinade as a sauce on the cooked food, reserve a portion of the marinade before putting raw meat and poultry in it. However, if the marinade used on raw meat or poultry is to be reused, make sure to let it come to a full boil first to destroy any harmful bacteria. 
  7. Keep Everything Clean – to prevent foodborne illness, never use the same platter and utensils for raw and cooked meat and poultry.
  8. Cook Thoroughly and Use a Food Thermometer – meat and poultry cooked on a grill often browns very fast on the outside. Using a food thermometer will confirm food has reached a safe minimum internal temperature.
    • Cook all raw beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks, chops, and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145° F before removing from the heat source. For safety and quality, allow meat to rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming. 
    • Cook all raw ground beef, pork, lamb, and veal to an internal temperature of 160° F.  
    • Cook all poultry to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165° F. 
    • Never partially grill meat or poultry and finish cooking later.  
    • When reheating fully cooked meats like hot dogs, grill to 165° F. 
  9. Keep Hot Food Hot after cooking meat and poultry on the grill, keep it hot until served — at 140 °F or warmer. Keep cooked meats hot by setting them to the side of the grill rack, not directly over the coals where they could overcook. Food can also be kept hot in an oven set at 200 °F, in a chafing dish, slow cooker, on a warming tray or in a warming drawer.
  10. After the Meal – refrigerate any leftovers promptly in shallow containers. Discard any food left out more than 2 hours (or after 1 hour if temperatures are above 90° F).

According to our Experts, here’s how you can cut back on your red meat intake and still enjoy a burger.