On Memorial Day, we honor those who’ve given their lives in the service of their country. But for many of us, that solemn aspect of the holiday is paired with the first opportunity of the summer to enjoy some serious backyard cooking, outdoor time, or maybe an extended weekend road trip. Whatever’s on your agenda, a little planning will make sure the holiday weekend goes smoothly.
1. Food Poisoning
The problem: Your last cookout sent half the guests to the hospital.
Solve it: There are two main problems related to food safety this time of year, at least for home cooks: not cooking food to a high enough temperature, and leaving food out at an unsafe temperature, according to food-safety officials. This year, get out the food thermometer and make sure the meat on your grill reaches high enough temperatures (see the appropriate temperatures at the USDA’s food-safety website). While you’re at it, make sure you’re putting cooked meat onto a clean plate, not the same plate you used to carry raw meat out to the grill. And whether you’re at a picnic or in your back yard, don’t leave food sitting out unrefrigerated for more than 2 hours; keep a cooler full of ice handy in the event that you can’t get food back in the fridge within that time.