Flavors are hands-down the most important part of a BBQ. They can make or break the event. There is nothing quite like the distinctive, smoky flavor of slowly-grilled foods, and there are lots of ways to vary these flavors—from using different types of wood planks and meat cures to firing up charcoal briquettes and slathering on some sauces.
Classic outdoor summer dishes don’t just stop at the grill, though. Our main dishes and charred veggies are usually accompanied by some cool or creamy sides. Classic favorites include deviled eggs, macaroni and potato salads, fresh fruit, and, of course, desserts!
This delicious spread of food doesn’t come without some responsibilities. As a caterer, we consistently keep food safety in mind. It is always a priority. Warm summer temperatures and other outdoor factors can cause health risks like foodborne illnesses. With some careful preparation and beforehand-knowledge, you can keep the focus on health and safety without sacrificing any of the flavors.
FOLLOW THESE GUIDELINES TO SAFELY PREPARE YOUR FOOD:
Cooking Tips for HOT foods:
- Keep food cold until it is ready to be grilled, and always use a fresh, clean plate for serving cooked food. Often, people place grilled chicken back on the same plate they carried it out to the grill on while it was still raw—this is a big ‘no-no.’
- Be careful with utensils. Never touch cooked food with the utensil you used to touch raw food. This is an easy way to contaminate cooked food.
- Watch your temperatures. Foodsafety.gov recommends cooking beef, pork, lamb and veal to at least 145 degrees F with a 3-minute rest time, cooking ground meats to at least 160 degrees F, and cooking all poultry (including ground) to at least 165 degrees F.
Cooking Tips for COLD foods:
- Serve all cold food in small portions, refilling the tabletop as necessary, and keeping all extra in a cold, fully-insulated cooler with ice, gel packs, or frozen food items.
- Keep your cooler in a shady spot, out of the sun, and fill it up with food and ice to ensure that it will stay cold longer.
- Try to avoid repeatedly opening the cooler, so that the food inside will stay chilled for a longer duration.
General food tips:
- Do not allow perishable food (hot or cold) to sit outside for more than two hours without being placed in the cooler or kept warm by the grill. In hot weather (over 90 degrees), food should not sit outside longer than one hour.
- Always keep your hands and work station clean and sanitary. Keep a container of sanitary wipes outside with you and use them to wipe down surfaces and to keep your hands bacteria-free.
Keeping these important safety precautions in mind at all times will allow you to focus on the mouth-watering side of things, which is, of course, our very favorite part. Catering summer cookouts is an absolute blast, and we always have our homemade BBQ on hand when we do so. We’ve had BBQ on our menu since first opening our doors, and are proud of this award-winning dish. To give it a unique, much-loved flavor, we smoke it with oak logs for eight hours! You can read more about it on our website here, and we’d love to share it with you anytime!
Looking to provide all of the food offerings at your next gathering? These incredible recipe suggestions from Country Living will be sure to have your guests asking for more. Page through and find your favorites.
Some of our very favorite recipe concepts have come from our family members, friends and clients. Do you have a go-to summer recipe that is always a huge hit? Share some of your favorites in the comments below. We’d love to hear all about it, and maybe we’ll even feature a few in upcoming blog posts
In the next blog…we’ll cover the sounds: choosing music to keep the night going, and planning games that inspire laughter. We’ll continue with all the essentials for a sensational summer event. Too busy to plan things out yourself? We’re always here for you. Give us a call anytime!