Keeping Juneteenth Barbecues Flavorful & Food Safe


Keeping Juneteenth Barbecues Flavorful & Food Safe

JUNE 19, 2024

Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. This historic day is celebrated through community gatherings, parades, music, storytelling, dance, and barbecues. Food is central to many cultural celebrations and it is essential to ensure that the food we share is not only flavorful and delicious but also safe to eat. When heading outdoors to barbecue, follow these important food safety steps. Wash hands for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw meat, poultry, and eggs. Clean and sanitize common surface areas often. Use separate cutting boards for raw meat and poultry and ready foods to eat to avoid cross-contamination during food preparation.

When celebrating with food outdoors, keep food out of the Danger Zone (between 40 – 140 degrees F) or keep hot foods HOT and cold foods COLD. When foods are left sitting in the Danger Zone at temperatures between 40 – 140 degrees F, harmful bacteria can grow and create a danger to your friends and family. Traditional cooked dishes such as collard greens, jambalaya, okra, catfish, and mac & cheese can be kept hot (140 degrees F or above) by placing them in chafing dishes or warming trays. Traditional cold dishes such as potato salad, deviled eggs, fruit and vegetables can be nestled on top of a bed of ice (40 degrees F or below). Perishable foods that are not accompanied by a proper heating or cooling source must be stored and refrigerated within 2 hours, or 1 hour if the weather is over 90 degrees F.

If you’re headed to the grill, be sure to cook all meat and poultry to a minimum safe internal temperature as measured with a food thermometer.

  • Finger-licking slabs of barbecued ribs (pork or beef) must remain on the grill until they reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees F, and then rested for three minutes before digging in.
  • Juicy burgers should reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees F. Insert the food thermometer through the side of the patty, into the thickest part, for the most accurate reading.
  • Savory spiced jerk chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.

Before the Juneteenth fireworks can be seen in the sky, leftovers from the celebration should be properly stored in shallow containers and placed in the refrigerator to avoid sitting in the Danger Zone.

Not barbecuing this Juneteenth? Perhaps you are supporting a black-owned food business and ordering take-out instead. Remember the 2-hour rule and learn more about Safe Handling of Take-Out Foods.

By following these food safety tips, we can ensure that our Juneteenth celebration reflects freedom and unity and is a safe and memorable occasion for all.