Super Bowl Sunday is like a holiday, with family and friends gathering to watch the big game, and of course many tasty foods to eat! Other than Thanksgiving, more food is consumed on this day than any other day of the year. Somewhere around 48 million Americans order takeout food for the game while consuming about 1.3 billion chicken wings. Good food safety practices must be in play before, during and after the game. Here are a few key points to remember.
When preparing food be sure to start with clean hands, work surfaces and utensils. Always wash fresh fruits and vegetables under running water before preparing foods. This even includes food you are peeling, like those avocados for your guacamole. One thing you do not want to wash are the chicken wings! Rinsing meat or poultry under running water, results in splashing of water droplets onto other surfaces, kitchen utensils or food, causing contamination with harmful microorganisms.
If you are cooking food, be sure to check the final cooked temperature with a food thermometer. Color is never a reliable indicator of safety or doneness.
- Burgers and sliders to 160°F
- Chili and other reheated foods to 165°F
- Chicken wings to a final temperature of 165°F
For wings especially, take the temperature of several wings in a batch by placing a clean food thermometer in the thickest part of the wing, avoiding the bone. If one wing is under 165°F, continue cooking until reaching the correct temperature in all the wings checked. Since Super Bowl parties tend to be an all-day affair, be sure to monitor temperatures so that food is not sitting in the temperature danger zone (40°F to 140°F) for longer than 2 hours. Putting food out in small batches is a good idea. Use chafing dishes for wings and burgers; crockpots for chili, buffalo chicken, spinach or artichoke dips; and use a cold source like a bowl of ice below lunch meats, cheeses, fruit salad and other salads. At halftime do a temperature check on foods to be sure hot foods are at a temperature of 140°F or higher and cold food is at 40°F or lower. If they are not at these temperatures and it has been less than 2 hours, then reheat or re-chill, if more than 2 hours then discard. Also, have a serving utensil for each item and plenty of paper plates so everyone can use a clean plate when getting more food.
After the game the party may continue if your team was the winner or it may come to an abrupt end if the score went the other way. In either case, continue to keep food safety in mind as you take care of the leftovers.
- Divide foods into smaller portions, place in shallow containers and refrigerate within 2 hours after the party.
- If you do not think you will use the leftovers in 3-4 days, label and place them in the freezer to use at a later date.
- Any perishable foods sitting on the counter at room temperature for longer than 2 hours should be discarded.
Finally, be sure to reheat any leftovers to 165°F and check the temperature with a food thermometer. For sauces, soups, chili or gravy bring to a rolling boil. Do not reheat in a slow cooker; it is not designed for that, rather reheat foods on the stove, microwave or oven.
By following basic food safety tips, you will be the MVP of your Super Bowl party!