The Summer Grilling Checklist

By Kent Whitaker Summer is here! Grills and smokers will be fired up for holidays, family meals, and outdoor dinner parties. Now’s the time to check your outdoor cooking items to make sure they’re in good shape. And, it’s perfect time to a few grilling safety tips into consideration. After all, you don’t want you grill breaking before the steaks are done. And, as I say during my book signings and chef demo’s; when it comes to food safety you want your guests to remember the wonderful time and tasty meal. Not a trip to the emergency room due to food poisoning. Here’s a brief Summer Grilling Checklist! GRILL CHECK: Before using a gas grill after it’s been sitting dormant for a while you should check the lines for damage. Replace any worn burners, tighten loose bolts and nuts, clean any rusted areas and clean out debris from the last grilling session! Perform similar maintenance on gas grills and smokers. PREHEAT: Pre-heat your gas grill before using to burn off any residue from cleaners. When you light the charcoal, or fire up the gas for the first time, you might run off a few insects that have made your grill their home. CHECK YOUR FUEL: Before the neighbors come over for your cookout you should double check your fuel. There’s nothing wrong with an extra bag of charcoal or making sure you have enough fuel. CHEF TOOL SPRING CLEANING: Throw away and replace any damaged or rusted utensils, sharpen knifes, and check the batteries in your instant read thermometer. WASH YOUR HANDS AND SURFACES: This act cuts down on cross contamination. If you don’t have an outdoor sink at your grilling area then simply place several handy wipe containers around for you, and your guests, to use freely. Constantly clean around your cooking area as well. ICE FOR DRINKS & ICE FOR EVERYTHING ELSE: If you’re having more people over than you would for a normal family cookout then plan on having two containers for ice. One container holds cans and bottles of beverages that are covered in ice while a separate container holds clean ice for consumption. An ice scoop should be used as well. Any ice used for keeping food chilled should be separate. TEMPS: I’m not going to go over all of rules for keeping foods at the proper temperature. What I’ll do instead is give you a rule of thumb that I mention during my chef demos. “Keep the cold food cold and [...]