Summer Party Outdoor Cooking Tips

This is part of a series on how to keep food safe in the heat.


July 6, 2020 Deborah Esplin

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Food Poisoning Increases in the Summer

Food poisoning incidents do increase in the summer and it makes sense. It is hot. Bacteria grow faster in warmer temperatures. People have parties outside where they usually do not have refrigerators and may be less careful to follow good practices.

What are the good practices?

Here are some general tips: 

1. Wash your hands often
2. Wash surfaces often
3. Keep the Raw and the Cooked separate

a. Separate tools
b. Separate plates
c. If you touch raw foods, wash your hands after
d. If you can’t have separate tools & plates, then wash them with warm, soapy water.

Tips on Cooking Outside

Cooking raw meat, seafood & fish to the correct temperature is key in preventing food poisoning. Here are the recommended cooking temperatures:

USA Recommendations 

Poultry                             74 C / 165 F
Ground meat                71 C / 160 F
Steaks / Chops             63 C / 154 F
Pork / Ham / Fish        145 F
Eggs                                  160 F
Leftovers                        165 F

Canada Recommendations

Pork / Ham                      71 C
Eggs                                   74 C
Leftovers                         74 C
Game meat                     74 C
Poultry                               74 C
Meat rare                          63 C
Meat medium                 71 C
Meat well done              77 C
Ground meat                   71 C
Fish/Seafood                  70 C / 74 C
Eggs                                    74 C

Australia Recommendations 

Poultry                                  74 C
Steaks rare                          63 C
Steaks medium                 71 C
Steaks well done              77 C
Mince meat/Sausages   71 C
Fish/Seafood                      63 C
Eggs                                        64 C

UK Recommendations

Turkey                                    70 C

This table shows you the government recommendations for cooking meat, seafood fish, and eggs from several countries. They agree on several points:

• Cook ground meat to 71 C, 160 F.
• Minimum cooking temperature for whole cuts (not poultry) is 63 C, 145 F.
• Minimum cooking temperature for poultry & leftovers is 74 C, 165 F.

The table gives you good information, but how do you know the temperature of the food? Use a digital food thermometer. They are reliable and not expensive. I have several digital thermometers. I really like this one because it is waterproof and has a long stem and is not expensive. Check it out on Amazon.

Insert the thermometer as an angle into the food making sure to not touch the bottom of the food or any bones.

Tips Continued

    1. Thaw meat in the refrigerator, before you start cooking.
    2.  Keep meat in the refrigerator until you are ready to start cooking.

Tips On Safe Holding Temperatures for Food

USA Recommendations 

Minimum holding temperature for cooked foods 57 C / 135 F

Canada Recommendations 

Minimum holding temperature for cooked foods 60 C / 140 F

What is a safe holding temperature? It is the minimum temperature that you should maintain for keeping your cooked food hot. It is a temperature that is hot enough that bacteria will not grow. Keep your barbecue at this temperature to keep food hot during your party.

Tips Summary

  1. Wash your hands before cooking and after handling raw meat, fish, and seafood.
  2. Wash your surfaces often.
  3. Cook your food to the minimum recommended temperature to ensure that it is safe to eat.
  4. Use a food thermometer to measure the internal temperature of your food.
  5. Keep your raw and cooked food separate.
  6. Have separate plates and utensils for raw and cooked foods.
  7. Hold your cooked food at the minimum temperature to keep it safe.

Check out my video on this topic:

Here is the link to the next blog post in this series: 6 Summer Party Food Safety Tips To Keep Refrigerated Food Safe In The Heat.

Check out posts on other topics here: Blog Table of Contents.

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