If you are getting ready to barbecue this Memorial Day weekend, Inside Edition has important advice to help you grill safely, thanks to Chef Lisa Beels.
"Let's start by washing our hands," says Chef Beels.
Rule No. 1: Wash your hands!
Beels says it's the top safety tip for cooking at your holiday barbecue. Dirty hands can spread foodborne illness to your guests.
Rule No. 2: Keep Fresh Food Separate From Raw
"First thing we have to keep in mind is to keep the fresh food totally separate from the raw, uncooked food," says 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.
Rule No. 3: Wear Gloves
"Whenever I'm home and making hamburgers or meatloaf or for my clients, I always put on gloves," Chef Beels says.
Gloves will protect you from getting raw chopped meat trapped under your fingernails.
After you take the gloves off, wash your hands and keep scrubbing for at least 20 seconds.
Rule No. 4: Pre-Heat Your Grill
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 vigorously.
After cooking chicken on the grill, Chef Lisa says, wash your tongs while the poultry 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.
Then, with the food almost done, it's smart to check the meat with a thermometer.
Chicken should be cooked at a temperature of least 165 degrees. Store-bought hamburgers should be cooked well-done. Sorry, medium or medium-rare is just too risky.
Rule No. 5: Keep Wipes Handy
Chef Beels says to keep anti-bacterial wipes around as you grill to keep your hands clean.
Rule No. 6: Time to Serve
When it's time to serve, remember to keep the hot food hot and the cold food cold. Put cold platters right on top of trays filled with ice. And don't forget that the food cannot just sit out all afternoon, Chef Beels says to set an alarm.
“Here's a great reminder to put your food away after two hours or one hour in a hotter climate. Next thing you know, it's time to put your food away," says Chef Beels.