National BBQ Month is this month, and, although not am official holiday, everyone on Long Island seems to be preparing to barbeque this month as they weather heads into the 60s and 70s.
There are many ways you can celebrate barbeque month and is starts simply by having a get together for a barbeque. In addition to the meat and vegetables being cooked on the grill, side-dishes are very important. From macaroni salad to mashed potatoes, there are various side dishes that can be enjoyed with the food you barbeque.
Don't forget the graham crackers, chocolate bars, and marshmallows to enjoy yummy s'mores after your barbeque feast!
On top of enjoying your barbeque this spring and summer, it is important to remember to take proper safety precautions while grilling. The NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services offers great advice to ensure your safety this barbeque season.
- Gas and charcoal BBQ grills must only be used outdoors.
- Position the grill away from siding, deck railings, and low hanging branches.
- Keep children and pets away from the grill area: declare a three-foot "safe zone" around the grill.
Also, remember you need to safely cook food, so keep these tips from USDA in mind as you are cooking for your barbeque:
- Thaw Properly: If you are going to cook meat that you have previously froze, be sure to slow thaw in the refrigerator for the safely thawing the meat. You can also microwave the meat, but it must be cooked right away after thawing. If you thaw in the sink or on the counter, you are potentially allowing bacteria to infiltrate your meat which might get you sick
- Keep Meat Cold Until Cooking: Keep meat in the fridge or on ice until you cook it. This will prevent harmful bacteria from forming.
- No Cross-Contamination: The plate you hold raw meat on cannot hold the cooked meat as it can contaminate your perfectly cook food and get people sick.
- Cook Completely: Be sure to have a meat thermometer to insure your food is cook to temperature.
- Hot Food Needs to Stay Hot: To continue to be sure your guest can enjoy hot and safe food, be sure to cover or keep cooked food heated.
- Store Food: If you leave food out for more than 2 hours, it is not recommended to store this food as it might not be safe to eat later.
Can't cook at home? Don't have a place to grill for yourself? Luckily, many local parks provide grills so you can still enjoy barbecuing anytime this barbeque season.
Will you be having a BBQ this spring or summer? What will you be cooking? Tell us in the comments below!
[Sources: NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services and USDA]