Wire brushes are deadly

Photo Credit: Sean Welsh

And suddenly, on the heels of the US/Canada double long weekend, it became Barbecue Season again! Although, truth be told,it's barbecue season in this house the first day the temperatures rise above 18 degrees celsius around here. I grew up with a charcoal or gas barbecue outside my kitchen door. Spring gave barbecuing a never you mind, because both my Father and my first husband, diehard barbecuers, would shovel a pathway to the grill from the first snowflake. Greg, doesn't do it in the snow, though, he is a summer barbecuer. I can't blame him, he grew up in the Bahamas. So, now, we're cleaning off the grill and cooking outside. I'm also thinking about barbecuing because I just got in my emails a news release from the USFDA reminding people to keep safety in mind while barbecuing. Greg and I really need a good barbecue. We currently have a nasty little portable that we take camping. I'm not showing that to you. Although, if you've been following me on Facebook for a period of time, you'll remember that our last barbecue died and we used it as a planter for potatoes. I hope you have a better barbecue. If not... squint. I leave you with these barbecuing reminders, compliments of the USFDA and Health Canada and my summer barbecue champion, the Peppermaster: Greg says to make sure that you clean your grill really well before putting your meat onto it. He also asked me to remind everyone about Health Canada's warnings about using metal bristle grill brushes. Be careful. If you use a wire brush, make sure it is in good condition, has no loose bristles and VERIFY that none have still on the grill waiting to get caught in the gullet of one of your unsuspecting dinner guests! Greg hand scrubs his grill using elbow grease and a clean rag dampened with clean cooking oil to clean his grill and then he gets it really hot; burning off any and all contaminants. He says, "heat is the great sterilizer". You can use a wooden paddle style grill scrubber or a pumice stone, but both will take time to wear the grooves that will make them most effective. He recommends the elbow grease method. If you're cooking away from home, get yourself a REALLY good cooler, two if you're bringing drinks that are not in a dispenser jug. You don't want to use your drink cooler as your food cooler, that's just asking for trouble in warmer weather. Bacteria love warm temperatures, and don't reproduce well at 40°F or below. So, foods shouldn't be left out at room temperature for more than a couple of hours and certainly when it's hot, limit that open air exposure to an hour! Ensure you have all these tools and utensils to help ensure a safe grilling experience:
  1. Clean rags, paper towels, and/or moist towelettes.
  2. Two sets of cooking utensils and dishes, (tongs, spatulas, forks, plates, etc.).
  3. Use the first set to handle raw food and the other for cooked food. NEVER should the cooked food be put back on the same dish that held raw meat or poultry.
  4. Food thermometer. Before eating any meat or poultry you have grilled, make sure it has been cooked to a safe temperature by using a food thermometer.
  5. Use the following safe internal temperature guidelines for your meat and poultry to ensure they are done:
    • Beef, pork, lamb and veal (steaks, roasts and chops): 145°F with a three-minute rest time
    • Ground meats: 160°F
    • Whole poultry, poultry breasts and ground poultry: 165°F
-- Happy Barbecuing! Photo Credit: Sean Welsh

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