Grilling favorites the safe way!

Using a thermometer intended for thin meats such as burgers and chicken makes it easy to have a safe cookout.

Barbecued chicken, hamburgers, steak and many other meats are especially tasty when prepared on a grill. Backyard grilling is a favorite cooking method during the hot summer months. Michigan State University Extension recommends that your grilling equipment include a thermometer, as well as a spatula and tongs.

Undercooked burgers can be a source of pathogenic microorganisms such as E. coli (hemorrhagic producing Shiga toxin producing Escherichia coli). Another pathogenic microorganism to be concerned about with undercooked chicken is Salmonella. Keep your family and friends safe at your cookout by grilling your chicken to 165 degrees Fahrenheit and your burgers to 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

Choosing the right thermometer for use with thin grilled meats such as burgers or chicken breast is also important. A thermometer with a thin tip will help to get a quick and accurate temperature reading. Using other thermometers such as a bimetallic stemmed thermometer makes it difficult to get an accurate reading. With a bimetallic stemmed thermometer, the thermometer needs to be inserted into the meat up to the entire sensing area, which is usually marked on the thermometer stem by a dimple (usually about 2 to 2.5 inches up the stem from the tip). See more information about thermometers at Fight Bac©.

Stick the thermometer in the center of the burger or the thick part of the chicken. Check each piece of meat.

It’s also important to keep your thermometer clean since it becomes a food contact surface when measuring the temperature of your food.

Calibration ensures your thermometer is accurate when taking the temperature of the food. Calibration is often done by using the ice point method. To use the ice point method, place crushed ice into a container such as a glass measuring cup. Fill the cup up to the rim with the ice. Add cold water and stir. Put the thermometer stem into the water and ice mixture without touching the sides or bottom of the cup. The thermometer should read 32 degrees Fahrenheit. If it does not, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for adjusting the thermometer.

Ensure you are serving safe food to your friends by checking the temperature of your grilled meats and poultry with an accurate thermometer!

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