Monday, August 8, 2011

Food Handling Tips for a Summer Grilling Event


If you’ve been following my blog, I’m sure you’ve heard of Kitchen PLAY.  Each month Kitchen PLAY hosts a Progressive Party with six food bloggers assigned to create a course of their own.  This month, I’m one of the 6 lucky bloggers chosen to create an iconic grilling recipe, sponsored by the Ad Council.  This month’s Progressive Party is a bit different from the previous events on Kitchen PLAY as our focus is on “safe food handling behavior”, not just the recipe itself. 

Therefore, this post will provide some useful information on how to handle food safely for grilling, which is perfect for the summer!


FACT: Did you know that one in six Americans will get sick from food poisoning this year alone?

Yikes….That doesn’t sound like fun at all.  Let’s do it the right way and make food safer for our family, shall we?!  Here are the basic 4 steps to follow:


Step #1:  Clean
Illness-causing bacteria can survive in many places around your kitchen, including your hands, utensils, and cutting boards. So, wash your hands and the utensils the right way to prevent the spreading of bacteria.  Yes, there is such a thing as 'the right way' for hand washing!

Here’s how we should do it.

  • Wet your hands with warm or cold running water and apply soap.
  • Rub your hands together to make a lather and scrub them well. Be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails. Bacteria can hide out here too!
  • Continue rubbing hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum “Happy Birthday” from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry.
See picture below? Yes, those are my hands!  Smile Beautiful, huh?  Oh no, I meant to tell you to look at the background, not my hands.  See that hand soap dispenser?  It’s one of those with motion sensor.  So, it’s really handy when you got both of your hand dirty and no one nearby to pump you any soap! LOL.  After all, you should not be touching the soap dispenser pump when your hands are dirty, to avoid cross contamination.

Besides your hands, make sure the utensils and working surfaces are clean as well.  Also, wash the fruits and veggies, but not meat, poultry, nor eggs!  Because washing raw meat and poultry can actually help bacteria to spread when the juices from the raw meat splash onto the sink and/or countertop, which will increase your chances of cross contamination!  For more details.  Check out the Food Safety site here.

Step #2: Separate

Use separate cutting boards and plates for produce, meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs.  I love these boards because not only there are in different colors but there is also an actual picture of what each cutting board is meant for. 

It is also important to keep meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs separated from all other foods at the grocery and in the fridge.


Place raw meat, poultry, and seafood in containers or sealed plastic bags to prevent their juices from dripping or leaking onto other foods underneath.  If you’re not planning to use the foods within a few days, freeze them instead.


Step #3: Cook


FACT: Did you know that the bacteria that cause food poisoning multiply quickest in the “Temperature Danger Zone” between 40˚ and 140˚ Fahrenheit?

Take the “guess work” out of the equation by using a food thermometer!  (Yes, it is my beautiful hand again holding the food thermometer below!)


What’s the “right” temperature, you might ask.  Here’s a chart for your reference.  I recommend you print a copy and stick it on the fridge like I did.  Winking smile  

Step #4: Chill

FACT: Did you know that illness-causing bacteria can grow in perishable foods within two hours unless you refrigerate them? (And if the temperature is 90 ˚F or higher during the summer, cut that time down to one hour!)

Please remember to refrigerate perishable foods within two hours.  Never thaw or marinate foods on the counter.  Last but not least, know when to discard the food.  Here’s a helpful time chart to check on that.

I hope you all learned something new today.  I certainly did with all the helpful information from the Food Safety Website.

Make This Recipe Safer on Facebook!

The campaign sponsors also have some handy-dandy refrigerator magnets to remind you and your family about food safety while cooking. Click here to receive your FREE magnet! Then share photos of your magnet, your personalized safety tips, and/or the dishes you've cooked safely on the Kitchen PLAY facebook page. (Be sure to tag and Ad Council!).

Let's work together to Make Our Recipes Safer!

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Disclaimer:  This is a sponsored post by the Ad Council and Kitchen PLAY.  However, all opinions are 100% my own.

The American Classic—Hamburger with Caramelized Onions and Spicy Mayo:
Printable Recipe

Serves 4

For the Burger: 
1 1/2 pounds freshly ground chuck
steak seasoning
vegetable oil for brushing the patties and the grill
4 slices Swiss cheese
4 hamburger buns
1 tomato, sliced
8 butter lettuce leaves
1 recipe of caramelized onions (click here for the recipe)

For the Spicy Mayonnaise: 
1/4 cup Mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Sriracha Chili Sauce (replace with 2 tablespoons of ketchup for kids)

For the burgers:
Preheat the grill to high.  Divide the ground beef into 4 patties (6 ounces each).  Make a dent/well in the middle of each patty (as shown from the picture on this post).  As the patties cook up, they will be flat instead of having a “bump” in the middle.  Season both sides of each patty with steak seasoning. With a pastry brush, brush oil on both sides of the patties.  Grill for 5 minutes on each side.  During the last 2 minutes of cooking the second side, place a slice of cheese on each patty until melted.  Don’t forget to check the temperature of the patties with a food thermometer (minimum of 160F degree for ground beef)!  Winking smile  Make sure the tip of the food thermometer is in the middle of the patty without touching the grill.

For the Spicy Mayo:
In a small bowl, stir the mayo and Sriracha Chili Sauce (or ketchup) until well combined.

To Assemble:
Slather the bottom of the hamburger buns with spicy mayo, top with a lettuce leave, a slice of tomato; top with a grilled hamburger patty, caramelized onions and top each with the bun top.


  1. Excellent post, and those burgers look incredible! Caramelized onion is such a great addition, especially paired with Swiss cheese!

  2. That burger has my stomach growling. The toppings looks incredible. Yummy! Great food handling tips and a great refresher.

  3. Great tips. Now I'm super hungry for a burger.

    ♥ sécia

  4. Good luck with the contest and I just can not tell you how much I appreciate this post. Everything laid out, clear information and something we all need to remember every day...

    And 1 in 6... OMG, I just had six people at muy house for dinner last night

  5. Hi Amy,
    Your hamburger looks delicious! I'm a big fan of your photography! :) Great food handling tips! It's nice to partipate in this Kitchen PLAY/Ad Council event with you!

  6. I took public health in college and I was surprised that there were people out there who had no clue about sanitation and correct practices! I hope lots of people can learn from this post!

  7. What a great post. Very informative and wonderful pictures. Come over and visit us. We have an awesome rib recipe today.

  8. fantastic post! As an ex restaurant manager/cook/waitress/line-expo/bartender etc... and now family cook.. these rules are platinum!

    Gorgeous photos, too!

  9. Thanks for the great usable tips and great pictures!!

  10. Looks Yummy. Looks delicious in your photo. Great photos.

  11. Wow these burgers look fantastic! Gorgeous pictures as well :) So glad I found your blog, new follower! xoxo

  12. I just saw Faith's post at Edible Mosaic on food safety too! Great tips and those I always try to follow.

    We're having a burger party this weekend so this recipe is very timely. I want to bite into that burger right now!

  13. wonderful safety tips. Following them will make any get together better. Hugs

  14. Lovely post with great tips.I LOVE the fat burger in the first pic- drooling!

  15. Hi! That burger looks divine, I so crave one now. My first time visiting your blog, great job.

  16. yum.... the burger looks delicious with the melted cheese and caramelized onions!

  17. Thanks for all the wonderful tips and I love those juicy looking burger!!!!! Yum yum

  18. Wow those burgers look so tasty! I can't wait to try this recipe, thanks so much!

  19. Thanks for all the safety tips! I usually do all that anyway, but it's always helpful to be reminded

  20. Perfect summertime meal! Everything looks so yummy! And thanks for the safety tips too, always important information

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