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Stay Safe During Grilling Season

Stay Safe During Grilling Season

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How to enjoy eating outside during the summer without risking food-borne illnesses

If you love to eat outside during the summer, keep food safety in mind as you prepare your next summer barbecue.

Summer barbecues can be a great chance to get together with friends, enjoy the warm weather, and eat delicious food. As enjoyable as these gatherings are, however, it’s important to remember that instances of food-borne illness rise dramatically in the summer because of the bacteria that thrives in warmer temperatures.

Whether you are grilling in your backyard or picnicking in the park, there are various precautions you can take to keep your outdoor meals safe and delicious.

For example, marinating meat or seafood is a great way to add a boost of flavor to a grilled summer meal, but it’s also a common source of food contamination. While marinating your meat or fish, be sure to keep it in the refrigerator rather than out on the counter, as this can prevent harmful bacteria from thriving.

You should also avoid letting food sit out for too long at your outdoor barbecues, as doing so increases the likelihood of bacterial growth. Serve your food how it’s meant to be served — specifically hot foods should be discarded when they are reach room temperature and cold foods should be kept in a cooler until consumed.

Be especially careful when preparing food for children and elderly people, as these two groups are especially susceptible to food poisoning due to their compromised immune systems. Don’t let the risk of food-borne illness make you shy away from eating outdoors or cooking on the grill—be sure to enjoy the experience of al fresco dining while it lasts.

This Common Grilling Mistake Could Make You Very Sick&mdashLuckily, There's An Easy Fix

Eager cooks can find myriad reasons to make dinner on the grill every night of the week in peak grilling season: From chicken and steak to pizza, potatoes, bread, even dessert, there isn’t much that isn’t delicious after a spin over charcoal or the flames of a gas grill.

However, one thing no one wants to take away from their smoky piece of perfectly-grilled fish is a foodborne illness. But it is entirely possible an over-eager cook could set up their family and dinner guests for just that if they don’t do this one essential step: preheat the grill and scrub it clean of any residue before cooking.

Grills can harbor pieces of food for days, weeks, even months after the dish has been consumed. The food that remains on the grills is an attraction for birds, insects, and other animals. They can introduce any number of bacteria (and even waste) to the grill’s surface. Plus, leftover food bits are a magnet for bacteria, and they can produce unusual odors or flavors in the food you’re cooking on top of them.

If you fire up the grill and plop tonight’s steak over the remnants of last night’s pork chop, you might introduce bacteria that could lead to gastric distress, bloating, cramping, diarrhea, or vomiting. What’s more, if you don’t clean tonight’s steak off the grill when you fire it up for tomorrow’s corn on the cob, you could repeat the tummy-turning experience. In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says cases of food poisoning spike in the summer, in part because cooking outdoors and grilling introduces a lot of opportunity for costly mistakes.

Many cooks assume the high heat of a grill’s fire is all that’s needed to destroy any bacteria that linger on the grates. While it is true the flames will do a decent job of blasting away those germs, they aren’t 100 percent effective. And if you don’t give them time to do the work, they won’t have any cleaning impact whatsoever. That could ruin your grilled dinner.

Control Flare-Ups

There are two important rules to keep in mind when it comes to fire: fight a fire when you want to put it out and control the fire when you want to use it. Flare-ups are a result of a cooking fire and should be controlled, not fought.

Always try to keep a portion of your grill empty so you can move the food should a flare-up occur. When you do have a flare-up, move the food away from it and let the flare-up burn off with the grill lid up. If the fire spreads, remove all food from the grill and let the fire burn off the grease as quickly as possible.

If your fire gets out of control, remove the food from the grill and turn off the burners and the gas. Leave the lid open and let the fire die down on its own.

Tips For Winter Grilling

If you aren't a die hard Traegerite, tis the season to put your Traeger to the test. Create delicious and flavorful Traegered food all winter long, you’ll be converted by the time the sun is back in full force. Here are some fiery tips for grilling in the cold, and tricks to keeping the flavor flowing all winter long. Fire it up, even in the winter!

Meet Mike, he’s a masterful meat maker who loves to create wood-fired food for his family and friends. Watch and learn, Mike will show you how to safely and efficiently grill in the winter.

Mike and his family live in a wintery state somewhere in Middle America. It’s the crack of dawn and Mike dons his puffy down jacket, wool lined waterproof boots, a hat with earflaps, and leather gloves. It’s Saturday, family day, a day full of food and festivities.

Tip: Bundle up when grilling outdoors in the winter.

Mike grabs a shovel to plow off the patio stairs and create a path to his trusty Traeger.

Tip: Makes sure to clear any ice layers to prevent slipping down the stairs, and ending up underneath the Traeger.

He dusts the snow off the grill cover and whips the Traeger all-weather protective cover off to reveal his mighty meat machine. Ah! Mouth-watering, Mike makes sure his grill is snow-free, the grill grate is clean, and that it’s free and clear of trees and patio overhang.

Tip: Clear off your grill, having snow on the grill when cooking will only inhibit the heat from being conserved, snow isn’t insulation.

With a flip of a switch Mike the meat lover hears the fire ignite and a flavorful day is off and running. With the grill set to smoke, after about 15 minutes of warming up the Traeger, a tad longer than summer grilling, the grill is ready to roll.

In the winter, the grill may take longer to heat up.

Mike loads the Cold Smoker up with bacon, closes the lid and rubs his hands together with delicious excitement. When his family wakes up a savory breakfast will almost be ready.

Tip: Winter weather is perfect for cold smoking the cold helps keep the cool inside to get the hardwood smoke flavor to permeate the food.

Mike grabs the leash and takes his hulking black Labrador, Brutus to the park for a morning walk. After tromping through the snow and throwing the Frisbee about 206 times, Brutus wears out and Mike heads home to ramp up the Traeger to get the bacon sizzling and cooked up for the fam. After a hearty breakfast and lots of protein loading, Mike loads the truck with the sleds and takes the kids over to the big hill near the school. They fly down the hill as quick as a flash and hike back to the top, over and over.

Tip: Keep your belly full of warm, flavorful protein rich food when recreating outdoors in the winter.

Exhausted, Mike jets home to fire up a home-cooked, wood-fired lunch for his family. His wife Bex requests chicken, (tonight is meaty Mike’s pick and it will be steaks), she whips up a zesty salad, and Mike bundles up in his winter gear again.

Tip: Never put your smoker grill in the garage or an enclosed patio to keep it warm.

Mike smothered the plump chicken breasts with Cajun Shake, because Cajun will keep your insides warm when it’s chilly. Mike sneaks the chicks into the grill by barely opening the grill and sliding them onto the hot spot of the grate. He quickly implants a remote probe thermometer before closing the grill.

Tip: Keep the grill closed as much as possible to help conserve the heat.

Mike watches the internal chicken temperature on his remote, inside where it’s toasty warm. 20 minutes passes and he starts to wonder why the chicken is taking so long to reach an internal temp of 160°F. His grill is set to high it’s just taking longer than normal.

Tip: If he had an insulation blanket wrapping up his grill, it would keep the heat inside and conserve hardwood pellet consumption.

Hardwood pellet fuel burns quicker in temperatures below 35°F. Aninsulation blanket keeps the metal hot and the heat in, preventing the escape of good hardwood heat.

The chicken turns out perfectly flavorful, and the Cajun spices keeps Mike the grill master’s family’s bellies full for hours. Bex tells Mike that her sister’s family is coming over so she was going to go get more steaks for dinner and marshmallows for the chicklets. Mike decides he better get going on his “honey-do” list and tackles putting in a new garbage disposal while the steaks thaw.

Chow time! The gang’s all here and it’s time for the meat master to fire up the Traeger once again for the family feast. He flips on the patio light so he can see the patio and grill perfectly.

Tip: Always make sure the grilling arena is well lit.

Mike sets the Traeger grill to smoke to warm up ad smothers the steaks in Chipolte Rub to add some heat, then he loads the grate up heapingly thick steaks.

The kids are getting antsy, so Mike tosses a few logs into the Traeger fire pit, lights it up, then bundles the little ones up so they can roast marshmallows while the meat smokes. After a good 30-minute smoke, Meaty Mike raises the temp to High and sears each side for about 5 minutes. The flavorful smoke wafts through the backyard and down the street.

Tip: Keep the lid down to keep the grill temperature up.

When the steaks have cooked to a sweet medium to medium rare, Mike grabs a cast iron covered dish from inside to transport the meat from the grill to the kitchen table.

Tip: Enclose food to keep it hot when transporting it in chilly air.

A Traeger Fire Pit is a welcome warming station for the kids and adults to crowd around to conversate as the wood fueled Traeger does all the hard work. Everyone’s happy to have a sweet treat as an appetizer. After Bex whips out an apple cobbler she made, Mike suggests baking it on the Traeger to add a hearty smoke flavor. The card games begin and the chatter about the upcoming hunt ensues and everyone enjoys a warm, wood-fired evening.

Come rain or shine, everyday is a great day to get Traegering. You can Traeger anything, veggies, meat, or sweets all year long. Let the flavor reign over your household with Traeger you can live a healthy and flavorful lifestyle.

Share your Traeger addiction with friends and family and spread the wood-fired love.

Causes of Depression After Heroin Withdrawal

There are various reasons for experiencing depression after completing treatment:

  • Depression may have been present prior to getting treatment. If there was co-occurring depression present with the heroin addiction, the only way to achieve lasting sobriety is through a dual diagnosis treatment program. This is a specialty that provides simultaneous treatment for both disorders in an integrated plan. If the depression was not addressed during treatment, then there is a higher probability it will linger in recovery.
  • Feeling disappointed in recovery. After years of living in an altered state due to substance abuse, sobriety may not seem all that great initially. In the early months of recovery feelings of depression can set in when expectations are not immediately met. Also, the consequences of the addiction may now be fully realized in sobriety, which can cause feelings of sadness, guilt, or shame.
  • Post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS). Depression is a PAWS symptom that may stubbornly persist for months following treatment. Because of the significant impact of heroin on the brain it is not surprising that there might be some long-lasting psychological effects. Even after completing detox and treatment, the PAWS can persist.

Regardless of how or when the clinical depression surfaced, treating depression after rehab is critical. Depression in recovery can pose serious risks to not only the recovery itself, but also may cause impairment in functioning, adverse effects in relationships, reduced productivity at work, and increased risk of suicide.

Gas Grill Season to Season Tips

1. When the grill is cool, brush or scrape off built-up carbon on the underside of the lid. Then, brush the cooking grates to remove leftover debris from your last grilling session.

2. Brush or scrape the Flavorizer Bars® and Heat Deflectors (if equipped) until they are free of debris.

3. Using a clean brush, clear the burner tube ports of rust and debris by brushing across them, not down the length of the burner. If ports are extruded, use care when brushing around the ignition electrode to avoid damage.

4. Use a scraper to chip away any built-up debris along the sides and bottom of the cookbox. Push all the debris into the slide-out grease tray.

5. Scrape any debris in the slide-out grease tray into the drip pan. Replace the drip pan after wiping out the catch pan.

6. Be sure to inspect all hoses for cracks or abrasions, and leak check all gas connections, including LP tanks, using a soapy water solution. To leak check, dab a mixture of dish soap and water on all connections. With the control knobs off, turn on the gas. If bubbles form, there is a leak.

DO NOT USE THE GRILL! Please call our customer service team for assistance: 800-446-1071.

7. Use our exterior grill cleaner to clean the outside lid and side tables of your grill.

Treatment for Depression After Quitting Heroin

The worst thing someone in recovery can do is to ignore the symptoms of depression. Treating depression in recovery involves ongoing psychotherapy, holistic methods, and possibly medication.

Therapy: Emotional and psychological support is key in heroin recovery. Therapy, both individual and group sessions, provide a safe environment where you can work through the feelings associated with depression.

Holistic: Depression symptoms can be relieved to some extent through natural means. These include getting regular exercise, sticking to a healthy diet, and getting adequate sleep. In addition, learning how to relax, through yoga, mindfulness, or massage, can also improve mood.

Medication: Medication for depression may be necessary. Antidepressants take about 4-6 weeks before the effects begin to be seen, but these drugs can possibly relieve the symptoms.

In the early months of heroin recovery it is important to heal the body and the mind. As difficult as it is to suffer through a bout of depression, be patient and always remember, this too shall pass.

The Basics of Grilling Tuna

No matter how you prepare tuna, always look for a good cut of fish. This means that the color is a deep red and even without dark patches. Tuna is a fish that's great for grilling and is uniquely meaty and delicious. Luckily, it's also easy to cook.

Tuna is a very lean fish and tends to dry out quickly on the grill. While serving with sauce will help, if you cook tuna beyond medium rare it will be dry. To help combat dryness, you can also marinate the tuna. Anything with a lot of acid will tend to cook the fish before it hits the grill, so the marinade should be pretty mild. Use some high-quality olive oil, herbs, spice, and a small amount of lemon juice or flavored vinegar and marinate for just a few minutes while you heat up the grill.

Watch Now: 8 Tricks for Perfect Seafood on the Grill

7. Not Using a Meat Thermometer

No matter how much of a grill master you consider yourself to be, trying to test the doneness of a steak by hand is very tricky. Using a meat thermometer (this $13 thermometer has over 10,000 reviews on Amazon) helps take the guesswork out of temping a steak.

Beef should have an internal temperature of 145 to 160 degrees F, depending on how you prefer it. Refer to our guide on grilling times for beef to see just how long you should cook your steak to reach the desired temperature.

How to Grill Pork

We are a big fan of baby back ribs in the summertime and think they taste best at home on the grill. It’s important to cook pork to at least 145 degrees, unless it’s ground (which needs to be cooked to 160 degrees). 

  • Tenderloin: Grill over direct heat for 6-8 minutes per side, turning occasionally. Then cover and cook over indirect heat for 10-12 minutes.
  • Chops (¾- to 1-inch thick): Grill for 4-6 minutes per side.
  • Ribs: Grill over direct heat for 5 minutes. Then cover and grill over indirect heat for 10-12 minutes.

Our Turmeric Pork Chops With Green Onion Rice are a fan-favorite here at Cooking Light, and our Easy Herbed Pork Tenderloin makes any meal seem more sophisticated.  

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