Summer is winding down and kids are heading back to school very soon. For some families, this means one last barbecue for the season. While some areas of the country are experiencing pleasantly cool temperatures, others are sweltering under the hot sun. No matter where you live, ensuring that your guests are safe is essential.
How many people will attend your party? You may be hosting a handful of people or a couple dozen. What you have to consider is that cooking for multiple people is different than cooking for your own family. In most cases, you will have to keep hot food hot and cold food cold. Most people do not have homes that are automatically set up for a large dinner party or buffet. Coming up with a food-handling plan is essential.
Not only should you be planning on when and how you will be serving food, but making sure that you have the right tools for the job. You may need a cooler or multiple coolers, food thermometers, and extra appliances. You may need covered bowls and dishes, bags of ice and more. The exact tools you will need depend on what you plan on preparing.
If you are hosting a barbecue to say goodbye to summer, here are some tips to follow.
It’s easy to be interrupted, especially when you’re the host. If you are cooking, don’t stop. Food should not be partially cooked, allowed to cool, and then cooked to completion. This cooling down allows bacteria to grow. Hot foods need to be cooked and, if cooled afterward, reheated to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. The food then needs to be maintained at a temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
This means that the habit of cooking burgers and hotdogs and then letting them sit in a pan on the table is a risky one. A better idea is to put the meat in a pan and set it on a hot plate so it maintains its temperature. Speaking of…
When hot food is in a holding pattern, it should be kept at 140 degrees Fahrenheit or above. It’s also important to reheat foods before placing them on a hot plate, warming dish, crock pot, etc. While the food is resting in one of these devices, continue to check to ensure that it’s maintaining its temperature. If it’s not, you’ll need to turn up your container or pitch the food.
As important as it is to keep hot food at the right temperature, you need to keep cold food cold. Nest your bowls in a bed of ice. Keep wrapped foods in a cooler. Put as much as you can in your fridge and don’t bring it out until it will be served. There are several ways you can keep your cold foods cold.
Don’t put fresh food in with food that has been sitting out. It means that you may have to use more dishes, but you will be keeping your guests free of hazard. Instead of refilling a large bowl with salad, for example, use several small bowls and just bring out a new bowl when one is empty.
No matter how quickly your guests are eating the food, keep the two hour rule in mind. No food should be left out for longer than two hours, especially under the Florida sun. If food has been sitting out for longer than this, it shouldn’t be packed up and put away and it shouldn’t be sent home as leftovers. Throw it out. It may seem wasteful to do so, but consuming this food can put you on the path for food poisoning.
You don’t want to end the summer sick. The good news is that illnesses caused by food are avoidable. When you follow the tips above, you can help to ensure that you and your guests end the party as healthy as you started it. There is much more that goes into a barbecue than planning on what you will be eating — you’ve also got to plan on how you will be storing and serving. Keep in mind that if a person falls ill due to poor food handling or preparation at your barbecue, you could be on the hook for their medical bills.
If you or a loved one suffers with food poisoning or any other type of injury in West Palm Beach, you may have the legal right to seek compensation for medical bills and more. Reach out to our team of experienced personal injury attorneys for more information. We will speak to you at no cost to help you determine whether or not you have the necessary elements for a successful case. Call today to schedule your free case evaluation and learn more about your options.