Grilling Gone Wrong: A Chef Tells You 4 Things You Need to Know Before You Fire Up the Grill by Donna John
While outdoor grilling is an American tradition, common mistakes, such as using the wrong oil in your marinade, can be disastrous to your taste buds and bad for your health, says Chef Gerard Viverito, the Director of Culinary Education for Passionfish, a NGO non-profit organization dedicated to educating people around the globe on the issue of sustainability in the seas. This year, before you prepare your marinades or fire up your grill, run through this list of precautions from Chef Gerard:
- Thaw meat in the refrigerator. Defrosting food on the counter encourages the growth of disease-causing pathogens such as listeria and salmonella.
- Thaw proteins completely before grilling. That’s the best way to ensure food cooks evenly. Use a meat thermometer in the thickest area to ensure doneness. Healthy internal temperatures are: poultry, 180 degrees F; burgers, 160 degrees F; pork,160 degrees F; and steaks, 145 degrees F or medium rare and 160 degrees F for medium.
- Marinate with the right cooking oil. A lot of people marinate their proteins in olive oil before grilling. Over-heating olive oil can cause it to break down into dangerous carcinogens. Plus, your food will probably taste rancid. Better to use an oil that will stand up to high heat, such as Malaysian sustainable palm oil. It’s got a nice buttery texture, it’s filled with healthy nutrients. And it’s good for the planet. Malaysia is protecting more than 50 percent of its rainforest, in part because it takes 10 times less land to produce palm oil than it does to produce canola or soybean oil. I also like that there’s no chemical processing. Palm oil is produced by squeezing the fruit, much like olive oil. (Chef Viverito has posted some of his favorite recipes on PalmOilHealth.org.)
- Wash your hands thoroughly before transferring food onto the grill.
Learn more by visiting ChefGerard.com.
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