How to avoid sickening or killing your BBQ guests (with the meat, at least)
So there you are, maybe it’s this weekend in fact, or the good ‘ole 4th of July, and you’re sitting around with group of friends celebrating your independence from feudal serfdom (technically speaking, that is) and these are people whose company you really enjoy, so needless to say you don’t want to inflict them with some nasty creature like, I don’t know …
Trichinosis, a parasitic worm sometimes found in pork, which can spread to your heart and even your brain and cause death …
or perhaps Campylobacter, a bacteria known to inhabit undercooked meat and poultry, which can cause Montezuma’s revenge-style diarrhea for 7-10 days.
Good to hear you’re not a complete psychopath, but you also don’t want to be a wanton grill master. You need two things, one of which you may already have, and another which I will now provide you — that is, some friendly knowledge and advice.
Please do ensure that you cook your meats to an adequate (i.e., safe) temperature, which varies based on the meat you’re cooking as follows:
- “Whole muscle” meats including pork and beef roasts, steaks, chops and ribs – 145 degrees F
- Ground meats, namely hamburgers – 155 degrees F
- Poultry – 165 degrees F
Of course, the other thing you need is a meat thermometer. We’re talking 10 bucks for a cheap one, which is fine. If you don’t have one, get one. Period. Note however, that many analog thermometers will also advise you, wrongly, of proper cooking temps. For example, I have one that advises cooking poultry to 185 degrees — which ensures safety, yes, but also virtually assures dry, overcooked chicken, which nobody likes.
Now that we’ve got all that settled, how about a nice recipe you can use to test your skills and impress your guests: Grilled Rosemary Chicken
Just note that the recipe is for TWO (2) chickens, so you might have to halve it.
You also need to halve your chicken(s), then halve them again to produce quarters. That is, two legs and two breasts, which makes the grilling go a bit quicker.
If you don’t know how to quarter a chicken, you really must learn. It’s economical and even quite fun, assuming you’re not squeamish in that way — or accident prone with a large, sharp knife — a prerequisite for the job.
Now go enjoy your meat … and your independence.