When people think of food poisoning they generally assume that it’s most likely to occur when you eat out at a sketchy restaurant. The truth is that most people give themselves food poisoning at home because they aren’t practicing safe food handling. It is very important to maintain food safety standards at home. This is especially true if you are cooking outdoors.
Whether you have a grill that you love to use or a full outdoor kitchen, you need to make sure that it is not going to get you or your family sick when you cook there. There are things that you need to be actively doing to prevent any illnesses or even accidents when cooking outside.
In this article, we will go over what you need to do to stay safe when cooking outdoors.
1 – Be organized
Having a system when cooking outdoors is going to go a long way towards reducing accidents as well as helping you handle your food safely. It all starts with outdoor kitchen storage and having a plan.
If you have an outdoor kitchen or even just a grilling area, look for ways that you can put a refrigerator. This is going to help prevent food from getting hot outdoors and end up in the danger zone for food borne pathogens.
The next thing is to make sure that you have the space to do your food prep so having some containers for your cooking equipment or a cabinet will help free your space. The next thing is to make sure that you are using surfaces that are built for food prep and not just improvising.
2 – Give it a clean before and after
All too often, people will fire up the grill, cook and then shut it off and leave it until next time. The area around the grill plus the grill itself needs to be super clean every time you use it. This means giving it a once over with some cleaning solutions before and after using it.
All the prep surfaces need to be sanitized before and after using them as well. This is why it’s important to use actual food safe materials so they can be properly sanitized. Wood, for instance, is a poor material for prep since organic matter can get stuck in the porous surface and be difficult to properly sanitize. Use food grade plastic cutting boards and make sure to clean them with a blean and water solution after using it.
3 – Keep away from the house
It’s tempting to keep your grill up against the house so you have easy access. This could be a fire waiting to happen, however. You need to make sure that your cooking area is far enough away from your house that a wind can’t blow a flame towards it and light it up.
Make sure to also keep a fire extinguisher handy in case flames do manage to leap away from your grill or outdoor stove.