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Enjoy the thrill of the grill safely

There is nothing that says summer quite like that tantalizing aroma of outdoor grilling.

That is also a reminder there are some safety tips that need to go along with it.

Just about any food that can be roasted or broiled can be cooked on a grill.

Be sure to put foods that cook quickly directly on the grid above medium coals or heat. You can leave the grill open or closed when using this cooking method.

Meats and poultry tend to brown quickly on the outside, but may not be thoroughly cooked on the inside. Use a thermometer to ensure foods have reached a safe internal temperature.

Poultry breasts should reach 170 degrees and the juices should be clear.

Hamburgers should reach 160 degrees or be brown in the center with no pink juices.

All pork cuts should reach 160 degrees.

Beef, veal and lamb steaks should be cooked to 145 degrees.

Here are some other tips to grilling safely:

— Keep the grill grate clean by scrubbing with a wire brush after each use.

— Oil the grill grate and lightly spray a non-marinated food with a non-fat cooking spray to reduce the likelihood of food sticking. Don’t use an aerosol spray while the grill is lit; it could cause the can to explode.

— Have the grate hot before putting steaks and hamburgers on the grill. Sear foods that need to retain their juices over a fairly hot fire; then cover them to finish cooking on lower heat.

— Trim visible fat that could make the fire flame up and char the food.

— Since barbecue sauce burns easily, use it only during the last few minutes of cooking.

To be sure everyone enjoys the cookout safely, use separate platters and utensils for raw and for cooked meats. Never put cooked meats on an unwashed platter previously used to hold raw meats. Keep grilled meats and poultry hot until you serve them.

You can find fresh local meats when you visit the Winchester-Clark County Farmers’ Market located on Depot Street Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon.

Don’t forget to pick up locally-grown greens, eggs, bread, coffee and flowers.

For more information on food safety, contact the Clark County Extension Office at 744-4682 or visit http://ces.ca.uky.edu/clark

Jennifer Howard is the Clark County Extension Agent for family and consumer sciences.