If you’re having a party, you serve your Super Bowl spread is as important as what you serve. Otherwise, your buffet could become a food poisoning minefield. Follow these tips to keep your Super Bowl spread safe.
1. Prep Carefully
The juices from raw meat may contain harmful bacteria that will cross-contaminate ready-to-eat food that would otherwise be fine. Use one cutting board for raw meat and poultry and another one for cutting veggies or foods that will not be cooked. If you use only one cutting board, wash it with hot soapy water between prepping each course.
2. Start Small
It may be tempting to load up the buffet with everything you’re planning to serve at the start of the game so you don’t have to miss a minute when the Broncos and Panthers face off. But that would be a mistake. The game can last four hours, and that’s far too long for a Super Bowl spread to sit out. Put out only enough food that you think will be consumed within an hour or two, and replenish as needed.
3. Control the Temperature
From cold cuts to chili, different foods need to be kept at different temperatures. Serve cold dishes in a small bowl nestled in a larger one filled with ice, and use a hot plate or chafing dishes for warm selections. Any food that’s been sitting out unheated or unrefrigerated for two hours or more should be tossed out.
4. Put out Plenty of Plates and Utensils
Dirty hands are one of the biggest culprits for spreading bacteria. Finger foods at parties are especially vulnerable, so place tongs near each platter. And reduce the chances of double dipping (yes it does spread bacteria) by having a serving spoon and small plates near the chips and dip to encourage people to put the dip on a plate.
5. After the Party, Chill
Refrigerate or freeze leftovers promptly to prevent bacteria from multiplying. Divide large amounts of leftovers into smaller, shallow containers for quicker cooling. Don’t pack the refrigerator—cool air should circulate so that the food cools down quickly.
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