5 Crucial BBQ Safety Tips You Need to Know This Memorial Day Weekend

A barbecue expert offers important advice to help you grill safely during this holiday weekend.

If you are getting ready to grill this Memorial Day weekend, INSIDE EDITION has important advice to help you grill safely. 

INSIDE EDITION’S Megan Alexander asked Chef Lisa Beels, “So Lisa, what do we do first?”

“Let's start by washing our hands,” said Chef Beels.

Rule No. 1: Wash your hands!

That's what Beels told Alexander is the top safety tip for cooking your holiday barbecue. Dirty hands can spread foodborne illness.

Read: How To Make The Perfect Summer Burgers. First Tip: Stay Indoors!

“What's next?” asks Alexander.  

“First thing we have to keep in mind is to keep the fresh food totally separate from the raw, uncooked food,” said Beels.    

Uncooked foods like chicken and ground beef can be contaminated with all sorts of nasty bacteria. So, don't let that stuff mingle with your salads and veggies.

Wash your knives and cutting boards with lots of hot soapy water between every use.

“Lisa, I notice you're wearing gloves,” said Alexander.  

“I am and whenever I'm home and making hamburgers or meatloaf or for my clients, I always put on gloves,” said Chef Beels.

It makes sense. Just think of all that raw hamburger oozing under your fingernails. Gross! It could also be dangerous. But if you wear gloves? No worries!

Read: Tips for Grilling Safely This Memorial Day

“So let's take them off, turn them inside out, plop them in the trash, and go wash our hands again,” she said.  

And that's Lisa's next tip: go wash your hands again! And keep scrubbing for at least 20 seconds.

It's important to pre-heat your grill on high for 10 minutes. The heat kills any germs left over from your last barbecue. Then, brush the grill real good. Now, it's time to throw on the chicken.

After you flip it once or twice, chef Lisa says, wash your tongs while the chicken is still on the grill, or have a fresh pair standing by. You don't want the juice from the raw meat, contaminating your cooked food.

“Let's grill some burgers,” said Alexander.

Chef Beels touched the hamburgers with her hands. That's okay because even without a sink nearby, she keeps anti-bacterial wipes handy. Then, with the food almost done, it's smart to check the meat with a thermometer.

Cook chicken at 165 degrees. Burgers should be well done, medium or medium rare is just too risky. 

Chicken should be at least 165 degrees. Store-bought hamburgers should be cooked well- done. Sorry, medium or medium-rare is just too risky. 

When it's time to serve, remember, keep the hot food hot and the cold food cold - put your cold platters right on top of trays filled with ice. And don't forget, the food can't just sit out all afternoon, Chef Beels said to set an alarm.

“Megan, here's a great reminder to put your food away after two hours or one hour in a hotter climate. Have it bing, bing, bing. Next thing you know, it's time to put your food away," said Chef Beels.

Now, it's time for the best part - eating!

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