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Grilling Out? These Mistakes Can Make You Sick

By Sara Butler

It's summer, which means it's prime grilling season. If you're planning a cookout this summer with friends and family, then it's time to be healthy and safe by memorizing a few grilling guidelines. Otherwise, you could end up making yourself, and others, sick. That's a terrible way to end a get together!

Don't Skip the Marinade

It's recommended by the American Institute for Cancer Research that you marinate all the meat you grill for at least 30 minutes before throwing it on the grill. This helps to create a bit of a protective barrier between the flames and meat. Burning meat can create carcinogens, which is why you want to avoid it.

Marinades don't need to be fancy. You can easily create one from lemon juice, wine, or vinegar mixed with a few herbs and spices to add flavor and protection to your health in the process.

Don't Defrost Meat on the Counter

You may be tempted to save time by sitting those pre-made hamburger patties out on the counter to thaw before grilling them, but that's what you should avoid doing. Sitting meat out at room temperature promotes the growth of bacteria. That's why you should always thaw meat and fish in your refrigerator slowly -- over at least a day. If you're in a pinch and need it faster, then you can seal the meat up in a plastic bag and submerge in cold water. Check it every 30 minutes until it's thawed.

Don't Clean Your Grill with a Wire Brush

You must clean your grill on the regular, but how you do it is important too. Using a wire-bristle brush can result in a trip to the emergency room as the bristles break off and end up in your food. This can cause injuries to your tonsils, throat, and mouth -- so it's definitely something to avoid.

Instead of a wire brush, try grill cleaner that's not made from metal.

You Skip the Meat Thermometer

It's important to know that the outside of things such as hamburgers can turn brown before the meat inside has reached the optimum safe temperature. That's why you need to keep a meat thermometer handy, so you can really check if the meat is done. Aim for a safe internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit for ground meats, 145 degrees for whole cuts of meat and 165 degrees for poultry.

Go ahead, grill out! Just make sure you have it right to keep you and your family healthy.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Greenwood Village, Colo.

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