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No matter how you like to grill your chicken, Gold'n Plump* recommends the following easy-to-remember tips to keep your grilling season safe, flavorful and fun.
• Control contamination. Allow food to thaw to room temperature before grilling for added tenderness and flavor, but don't let food sit un-refrigerated longer than 20 to 30 minutes to prevent bacteria growth. For maximum safety, thaw frozen chicken in the refrigerator.
• Heat to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. The USDA recommends fully cooking chicken to a minimum of 165 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure bacteria is destroyed. Keep an instant-read thermometer near the grill for a quick way of checking when your chicken is done. When preparing leftovers, reheat pre-cooked meats until they are at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
• Inhibit flare-ups. Start with chicken that has been trimmed of excess fat and remember to baste carefully so oil won't drip onto the coals and cause flare-ups. If the heat is too intense, move food from hot spots, which are usually found in the center of the grill, to the cooler areas around the edge.
• Conserve coals. Remove a few hot coals with tongs before you start cooking. Place them in a chimney starter (it looks like a coffee can with a grate and a handle) and set it on a nonflammable surface; cover the coals with fresh charcoal. If your fire dies too quickly, you can transfer the reserved, red-hot coals to the grill. If they're still glowing, wrap vegetables in foil and throw them on the grill to roast, with the lid on.
• Keep it clean. Be sure all utensils, plates, and cooking surfaces are clean, and your hands are washed well before and after handling raw chicken. When meat is cooked, transfer to a clean plate or serving platter — never place cooked meat on a platter that held raw meat.
• Embellish with herbs. Add flavor by scattering dried herb clippings — both sprigs and whole stems — over the coals. The heat will release the aroma from the herbs and permeate the meat. It also creates a lovely fragrance in the air. Try the gentle sweetness of basil and thyme, which are especially good with chicken.
• Never re-use marinades that have come in contact with raw chicken.
*Gold'n Plump; 4150 Second Street South; Suite 200; St. Cloud, MN 56301
Phone: (320) 251-3570 Website: www.goldnplump.com
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