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Summer Barbecue Recipes

Get outside and enjoy cooking (and eating) grilled hamburgers, barbecued chicken and more

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Grilled burger and fries for Memorial Day

Summer marks the beginning of grilling season. — Jill Chen/Vetta/Getty Images

First introduced to honor Union and Confederate soldiers after the Civil War, Memorial Day is now generally used to mark the beginning of summer as well as providing a time to commemorate all U.S. soldiers. Always observed on the last Monday of May, Memorial Day kicks off the grilling season and celebrates the start of the family get-togethers, beach days, picnics, fireworks and barbecues that the warmer weather will bring.

See also: Cleaning tips for grimy grill grates

A few food safety tips to ensure a healthy, happy grilling season:

  • Don't leave perishable food out at room temperature for more than two hours. If you're having a party that will go longer than that, be sure to refrigerate cooked leftovers immediately, leaving foods like pretzels or tortilla chips out for guests to graze on.
  • Make sure to keep marinades, sauces, utensils and tools separate for raw and cooked meat! If you want to reuse a sauce or marinade once the meat is cooked, boil it first.
  • When grilling, preheat the coals for 20 to 30 minutes, or until they are coated in ash. Use a meat thermometer to check food temperatures: 160 degrees is safe for hamburgers and red meat, and 165 for ground poultry. Poultry breast should reach 170 degrees; dark meat such as wings and thighs, 180.

Barbecued Chicken by Bob Sloan

Since dark meat needs to reach a higher internal temperature than chicken breast, it helps to place the chicken legs in the hotter center of the grill.

The Great American Burger by Steven Raichlen: One trick to hamburger making is to handle the meat as little as possible, so that it retains its moisture. Ground sirloin, chuck or round will all do just fine.

Next: More great grilling recipes. »

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