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Post Mon Jun 23, 2003 4:34 pm

Was hoping some of your master grillers could help with a problem. Whenever my husband or I grill we clean the grill properly. We never have any problems. However, anytime that we have bbq at my brother-in-laws we notice that he never cleans the grill, just turns the heat on, waits a few minutes and starts grilling. Needless to say we have both become sick on several occasions. I'm hoping you can let me know if this is acceptable and settle an argument, right now I'm being made out to be neurotic because I want a clean grill. Please help.

Post Tue Jun 24, 2003 6:19 am

FWIW, I suspect something other than the grill, itself, caused your problems. Even if the grill looks "dirty", the high temperatues will kill bacteria. Current guidelines are to cook meats to less than 200 degrees (actual temp depends on the type of meat.). A hot grill rack will be much hotter than that. At the grate, a medium temperature grill should be around 350 degrees.

Cross contamination is probably the culprit. Raw meat juices are coming into contact with cooked foods. This can happen in several ways. Using the same platter for raw and cooked foods, using the same knife to cut each, mopping sauce not boiled before being served as a final sauce, failure to wash hands, allowing fresh vegetables or fruit to come in contact with raw or partically cooked meat, to mention a few.

Use a grill brush to clean the grill before and after use should be all that's needed. Brush/scrape the charred bits stuck to the grill. Let the grill get HOT before starting the next cooking session will kill beasties.

Just my 2-cents, but it's far more important to worry about cross contaimination than it is to worry about the grill grates themselves. However, even those should be kept reasonabily "clean".


Post Tue Jun 24, 2003 11:59 am

Longmill is correct. I have been grilling on the same grill grate for 5 years WITHOUT cleaning it and none of us has ever gotten ill. I let the grate sit over the fire for a few minutes to kill any germs and then I tap it with my tongs. Most all of the residue falls off into th fire. Nothing can survive the kind of heat charcoal gives off at one inch away! Your illnesses must be coming from other sources. I have even let my cat, Isis, clean the grill grate with her sandpaper tongue. She likes the residue and I get a clean grate. I just set it over the fire and the intense heat kills any cat germs very quickly. I repeat, none of us has ever gotten ill from any of this stuff.

Post Tue Jun 24, 2003 4:19 pm

Your problem with your BiL clearly goes beyond his filthy grill

Your illness while possibly psychosomatic is likely due to "raw juices" mixing with cooked meat

Don't use the same plate for transporting the meat in and out unless you clean it

Keep the grate spotlessly clean and let the bowl (flavor bars) get "Board Of Health Violation" dirty

Post Thu Jun 26, 2003 12:39 am

Well, I'm thinking that you'll lose the argument--i agree with everything that's been said. The outside of the food alone will reach a high enough temperature to kill any bacteria, let alone the metal grate. You could oil the grate with salmenella and never get sick in your life (just want to say though that I do not recommend this).
The "psychsomatic" remark was the first thing that came to my mind too, but it's also very possible that your brother-in-law doesn't have very safe food handling procedures, and the cross contamination guesses are right on.

Post Tue Jul 01, 2003 9:31 pm
mnfolks raw

Posts: 3
Location: Inver Grove Heights,MN
I would also concure with the suggestion that you may be getting bacterial contamination by the use of plates not cleaned off and returning the cooked product to the same plate it was brought to the grill on. That is really a BIG NO NO. I suspect that you may have been dealing with some poultry. As outlined in Steves new book Keep it Hot, Clean And Lubricated (Page 24). You ak=lso may not be getting the internal temp high enough to kill off those little kritters that will make you deathly ill.A good themometer will assist you in determining the internal temps.
Tom 8)

Post Fri Jul 04, 2003 1:51 pm
PaulP well done
well done

Posts: 681
Location: Beautiful St. Mary's County, Maryland
In fact, there's a good reason not to overclean the grates. Just like a cast-iron skillet, the grates get a coating of grease and meat residue as you use them. That coating, called seasoning, makes food less likely to stick to the grates. I just bought new stainless steel grates, and after 10- 15 uses, they are no longer shiny. They are dark and cook mush better. Just use a brush to remove any lingering food bits after preheating to a high tempewrature.

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