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The start of grilling season – Audio

The start of grilling season - Audio

Jeff Sindelar, Extension meat specialist
Department of Animal Sciences
UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
(608) 262-0555

4:55 – Total time

0:11– What we should be grilling this season
0:49 – Food safety practices
1:57 – Charcoal or gas
2:48 – tips for home cuts
3:42 – Last tips and tricks for the season
4:10 – Lead out


Adam Wigger: “The start of grilling season!” We’re talking today with Jeff Sindelar, Extension Meat Specialist, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Division of Extension and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and I’m Adam Wigger. Jeff, a lot of Wisconsinites are going to be getting their grills out in the next couple weeks, what’s the hot thing they should be cooking this season?

Jeff Sindelar: Gosh Adam, that’s a great question! It is the time of the year, it is the season to fire up those grills and get them ready for a long, beautiful, wonderful summer here in Wisconsin. I think there’s been plenty of pent up anxiousness to do so! Lots of things to grill; probably the first thing that comes to mind of course is a good old fashioned Wisconsin bratwurst. Anything from steaks to vegetables, to a whole bunch of good stuff, it’s really up to the creativity of the griller and the tools and skills they have to masterfully navigate through the grilling process.

Adam Wigger: Keeping that in mind, what kind of food safety practices should people be practicing this season, just to make sure we’re all same and can eat healthy?

Jeff Sindelar: Great question! So food safety is always paramount while grilling. Food safety is one of those topics where you have to get a lot of practice and have to create good habits. And fortunately or unfortunately, sometimes we forget about some of those small but important food safety practices. So for sure, first and foremost, we can to control and prevent cross contamination. So when dealing with meat and poultry, we keep things raw separate from cooked. And not only are we thinking about plates and washing hands, but also utensils. So if we’re using a fork, some tongs, or even a thermometer, and we are using those on the raw meat, we also need to think about how potentially we are using those on cooked meat. So having good sanitation skills, making sure that you are washing those utensils and preparation surfaces. Those are all really important, small yet really important things for making safe food and making sure that no one has a bad experience because of the grilling.

Adam Wigger: So when we’re grilling, what do you suggest: charcoal or gas?

Jeff Sindelar: Oh gosh that’s a great question: charcoal or gas. Well it really comes down to personal preference. Both are very popular. Both are widely used. Charcoal might be considered by traditionalists, or more the traditionalists, as the only way to grill. But for convenience and flexibility, it’s really hard to beat gas. I like to do both.  And I like to do both for different reasons. I like charcoal for kind of the process it takes. So you have to think about those extra steps and becomes more of a grilling experience. You get the briquettes or lump charcoal heated up and in the grill, do the grilling. Whereas gas, its turn the gas on and light the fire and wait for the grill to warm up. But both are really wonderful, great options for your grilling.

Adam Wigger: So I know in Wisconsin, a lot people will cook their own meats or make their own sausage, what kinds of tips do you have for them?

Jeff Sindelar: Well if they are making those cuts, so perhaps they are buying whole cuts and bringing them home from the supermarket or the store, and cutting them into smaller, maybe steaks, chops, or medallions – doing those things is wonderful, just make sure you follow those basic food safety principles and practices. Again, like we spoke about, controlling and preventing cross-contamination, doing things where we are controlling the temperatures. Bacteria likes to grow faster as things get warmer. So when we are making sausage or cutting steaks or carving medallions, just keeping in mind minimizing the time that we spend not under refrigeration is very important.

Adam Wigger:Any last tips or tricks that you want to share for this grilling season?

Jeff Sindelar: Where I’ll leave everybody off at is, wherever you left off last year, maybe start up doing that this year, and go out and be adventurous and try something different, try something new. There are plenty of resources, from social media, to cook books, to family and friends that could really get some ideas going of different things to try. My greatest advice is don’t be afraid, jump right in and try something you haven’t tried before and I’m sure you’ll be super excited with the results.

Adam Wigger: Thank you, Jeff! We’ve been visiting today with Jeff Sindelar, Extension Meat Specialist University of Wisconsin-Madison, Division of Extension and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and I’m Adam Wigger.