Category Archives: Safe Summer Grilling

Greener Ways to Enjoy Traditional Cookouts

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If you have ever noticed the huge displays of paper cups, plates and canned beverages that appear like magic in the grocery store each summer, then you may have trouble believing that the words “eco-friendly” and “cookout” should or could ever be used in the same sentence. With some planning, however, a BBQ can be a great opportunity to enjoy an environmentally friendly occasion with friends and family in the great outdoors. Mopfrog of Lunenburg offers some pointers to help green your grilling!

Think Local for the Menu

Instead of purchasing traditional, highly processed meats such as hot dogs and hamburgers, source the foods you will grill from local farmers who take pride in producing healthy, ethically grown meats, poultry, fruits and vegetables. For instance, instead hot dogs can be replaced with delicious brats and sausages made from grass-fed, hormone free beef and pork or juicy free-range chicken. 

Opt for Less Meat

Another way to BBQ in a greener, yet delicious way is to take the focus away from meat and poultry and replace it with grilled fish from a local source. You may even want to remove meat entirely and opt to grill a variety of fresh, organically grown veggie slices to enjoy simply piled onto wraps, atop a smoky, grilled pizza, or chunked and speared with cubes of tofu for tasty kabobs. Chilled wedges of fresh, local melons or fruits for desert are also a delicious and healthy option.

Cook Responsibly

Grilling responsibly is another way to lessen impact on the earth’s resources and the environment. Although gas grills do use fossil fuels, they can still be a wise choice for an eco-friendly cookout, because they make it possible to cook foods quickly, require minimal cleanup and emit less smoke and particulates while cooking than other outdoor cooking options. When choosing a gas grill to purchase, choose one specifically designed for maximum efficiency and make sure that the tanks that fuel it are refillable ones, instead of single use. 

If you prefer to use charcoal, steer away from overly processed, additive laden briquettes and choose to cook your foods with lump charcoal, which is made from wood and has no fillers or additives, such as petroleum based ignition agents. Additionally, choose to light your charcoal cooking fire with tinder and kindling, instead of dousing it with commercially produced lighting fluids. 

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Food Safety Rules For Summer Cookouts

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Food safety is important every single day, but when cooking and eating outside, it should be taken even more seriously. With an entire summer of picnics, barbeques and campfire s’mores ahead, the following tips from Mopfrog of Lunenburg will help ensure that your outing isn’t spoiled by contaminated food or food borne illnesses. 

Keep it Clean 

Cleanliness is just as important in the backyard or camp spot as it is in the kitchen, so make sure to include a small spray bottle of sanitizing spray in your gear, and use it to wipe down your food prep areas and utensils. Make a simple solution by mixing three parts water to one part distilled white vinegar and storing it in a small, portable spray or squirt bottle to use when preparing food outdoors. In addition, remember to never cross-contaminate by using the same cooking utensils on raw and cooked foods, without washing them first.

Take along a bar of castile soap and some extra water to allow kids and adults to wash up carefully before preparing food or eating. It is recommended to vigorously wash your hands for a full 20 seconds to prevent spreading germs. If you can’t see a clock, just sing the Happy Birthday Song through two times. 

Contaminated ice is another way that bacteria are transferred when cooking, storing and eating outside. To avoid this, make sure that ice for drinks is separately bagged and that anyone doling out the ice has washed their hands thoroughly beforehand. 

Heat it Up

Meat that has been insufficiently cooked is a prime source of the type of bacterial growth that is capable of causing serious food borne illnesses. To avoid this risk, pack a food thermometer in your outdoor cooking gear and make sure that all raw meats, such as burgers are cooked until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees, and poultry reaches 165 degrees. 

Cool it Down

To avoid food contamination during hot summer weather, make sure that food is kept thoroughly chilled both before and after cooking. Food that has been sitting out for more than two hours should be discarded. However, if the temperature outside is above 90 degrees, food should be thrown away after an hour. In addition, keep cooler lids closed as much as possible and restock them with fresh ice frequently to provide safe food keeping temperatures.

Just following these three basic summer food safety rules will help ensure that your family spends their summer having fun instead of dealing with food borne illness. 

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