By Lauren Galush, 2018 OAM Summer Meals Intern
Barbecuing over the Labor Day weekend with friends and family can be a fun, end-of-summer activity for all to enjoy. The following tips can help ensure that your summer barbecue will remain safe for all.
- Turn Down the Heat: Many studies show that cooking meats at temperatures above 325 ℉ can lead to the production of cancer-causing substances. To avoid underdone meat, take the temperature of your meat (the internal temperature should be 160 ℉). If you prefer the flavor of well-done meat, that doesn’t mean you have to miss out! Instead, try using a marinade to increase overall flavor.
- Flip Frequently: Like turning down the heat, flipping meat frequently can prevent the formation of cancer-causing substances. Make sure to do so without piercing the meat, as this will prevent the juices from dripping onto the coals.
- Add Vegetables: Adding vegetables to your barbecue can be beneficial in many ways. Unlike meats, vegetables are unable to form carcinogenic substances at high temperatures. In addition, vegetables offer various nutrients to ensure that your meal is well-rounded. A fun way to add in vegetables is to make skewers. Just cut meat and fruits or vegetables into small pieces, then place them on a skewer, alternating a piece of meat with a piece of fruit or vegetable.
- Healthy and Nutritious Desserts: Grilling fruits has become a popular trend–and for a good reason! Grill up peaches, pineapple, apples, bananas and pears for a yummy dessert.
- Grill Safety: Part of preparing a healthy barbecue is ensuring that everyone is safe at all times. When grilling, make sure that you are away from any structures. Grills should also be on a level, sturdy surface to prevent it from falling over. When you are finished barbecuing, wait until your grill has cooled off completely, then clean off the surface and collect the waste in a container. Don’t forget to check your grill for propane leaks each season. This can be done by applying a small amount of soap and water solution to the gas tank hose, then turning on the gas. If the solution bubbles, there is a propane leak.
- Hydrate: With the intense heat that Minnesota summers can offer, it is very important to hydrate. Make sure you drink water or consume foods with high water content, such as cucumbers, iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, watermelon, strawberries and cantaloupe.
In need of some inspiration? We’ve got you covered! Head here for a grilled fruit kebab recipe to make for your barbecue!