Using the Wrong Cooking Method
According to Weber’s Grilling Guide, there are two types of grilling methods, direct and indirect. Use the direct method, which is closer to the heat source, for foods that take fewer than 25 minutes to cook like steaks, chops, kabobs, sausages and vegetables. The indirect method, where food is farther from the heat source, is better for foods that require 25 minutes or more of grilling time like a whole chicken or white fish. Plus: You will definitely want these 11 new grilling tools.
Not Using a Food Thermometer
Archie Magoulas, Food Safety Specialist at the meat and poultry hotline at USDA, says a food thermometer is essential for safe grilling. Ground meat should be cooked to 160 degrees, poultry to 165 degrees and red meat to 145 degrees. If you’re wondering why a sirloin burger needs to be cooked to a higher temperature than a sirloin steak, Magoulas says the grinding process can transfer bacteria from the outside of the meat to the inside. “Don’t let the color fool you, your burger may look brown throughout, but it may not have reached 160 degrees,” he warns.
Mixing Cooked and Uncooked
Your burgers are just about done and now you’re throwing some raw marinated chicken on the grill right next to them. Bad idea. “Cross-contamination can easily occur from bacteria such as eColi, Campylobacter or Salmonella,” says Magoulas. Instead, he suggests, “Cook meat and poultry in batches until cooked through, remove them from the grill; then add the next batch of uncooked.” He also says to make sure to wash your hands after handling any raw items, so you don’t transfer bacteria to your hamburger buns and burger toppings for example. Don’t miss food safety rules to avoid food poisoning.