Who doesn’t like an outdoor party? With summer on its way, it is likely that you have plans to attend a few outdoor events, yourself. But throwing an outdoor party is a different experience altogether. Catering to your guests is not so simple when you consider the number of things that could spoil your catering. If you are planning a friendly outdoor gathering, then you need to take steps to ensure that the food you serve stays guest-friendly. Here are some food safety tips for outdoor events:
Marinate your meats indoors, and reserve a portion of the marinade before you add the raw meats to it. If you decide to partially cook your meats to reduce grilling time, then do so immediately prior to grilling, as opposed to earlier. Use a meat thermometer to make sure your food is cooked all the way through, and to the appropriate temperature. Don’t ever use the same plate or utensils that you used for the uncooked meat to serve or handle grilled food.
Keeping cold foods cold
Some foods – things like mayonnaise, cheese, and raw meats – can go bad very quickly if they aren’t kept at the appropriate temperature (below 40 degrees F). It is important that you keep perishables on ice, and in an enclosed space, if possible. A good solution is to bring plenty of coolers for cold items, and to keep those coolers closed when you are not accessing the food.
Keeping hot foods hot
Use insulated containers to keep your hot foods over the 140 degree F mark for as long as possible.
Beware of the danger zone
There are certain temperatures in which airborne bacteria thrive, and you should always protect your outdoor foods from this “danger zone.” A good rule of thumb is not to allow your food to remain in the 40 degrees F to 140 degrees F for longer than two hours (one hour if it is over 90 degrees F outside) – period. If your food stays out for longer than the prescribed safe-zone time, then you should throw it out, just to be safe.
Cooking and serving guests in the outdoor environment can be a great time. After all, outdoor parties are a wonderful American pastime. Just don’t allow your great time to be ruined by improper adherence to food safety guidelines. These tips should help you stay in the clear when it comes to keeping your food safe during your next outdoor event.