7 Best BBQ Tips for the 4th of July
If you’re like 80 percent of Americans, you’ll be celebrating the independence of our country at a BBQ, cookout, or picnic. This all-American pastime includes time with family, games, fireworks, and food—lots and lots of food.
Keeping food as fresh and safe to eat as possible at a picnic, especially in sweltering July temperatures, can be a bit tricky. Here are a few tips to keep your cookouts as delicious (and safe!) as possible.
Use veggies that won’t wilt.
Greens are fragile little things, and trying to keep them from wilting in hot weather is a losing battle. Instead of making lettuce-based salads, choose heartier veggie dishes like coleslaw, broccoli salad, or crudites with carrots, celery, peppers, and cauliflower.
Check meat temperatures.
Hamburger should be cooked until internal temperatures are at least 160 degrees F, chicken 165 degrees F, and ribs 145 degrees F. A meat thermometer can help you make sure your meats are cooked at the proper temperatures.
Keep mayonnaise-based salads on ice.
What’s the perfect recipe for food poisoning? Hot temperatures and potato salad, deviled eggs, and other foods with mayo-based dressings or fillings. (Basically, all the best foods at a summer bbq!) Fill a large bowl or serving dish with ice, and place the salad on top to keep it chilly.
Mix fruit salads immediately before serving.
There’s nothing quite as unappetizing as a fruit salad full of slimy bananas, sweaty cantaloupe, and brown strawberries. Instead of mixing your salad before you get to the picnic, separate each fruit into plastic sandwich or freezer bags, then combine them right before serving. This will keep your fruit salad looking as good as it tastes!
Hand sanitizer or antibacterial hand wipes are a must for any picnic, especially if you’re handling food. Keep bottles of hand sanitizer or packs of moistened hand wipes at the serving table for a not-so-subtle reminder for your guests.
Get creative to keep bugs away.
Keep ants from crashing your bbq and crawling around your food by crushing up charcoal and sprinkling it around your picnic area. Lure bees and wasps away by placing open cans of soda around the perimeter of your picnic,which will draw them away. Citronella candles or diffusers are also a good way to keep mosquitoes at bay.
Practice fire safety.
Make sure you have a spray bottle of water next to the grill; a spritz or two can keep any errant flames from fanning out of control. If you’re serving kebabs, make sure you soak wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes to keep them from catching fire.
These hacks will keep your picnic foods as fresh and tasty as possible, so you can enjoy your 4th of July BBQ stress-free!