When cooking out: one set of tongs or two?

Doc

Administrator
Staff member
Gold Site Supporter
I had never thought of this but saw it suggested today not to use the same tongs (spatula etc grill tool you use to turn your meat) that you put the meat on the grill with to take it off the grill.
Since the first tongs touched the raw meat you should not use the to finish up the cooked meat. :confused: Well, when should you switch tongs then? Seems a little over the top to me ....so I'm wondering what is your all's take on this thought.
 

joec

New member
Gold Site Supporter
I don't nor would DOC that stuff comes from the same people that use anti bacterial soap 50 times a day. Now I've used two tongs before however it is to move a piece of meat I couldn't move with one.

Now one place I agree is using knives to cut meat then not using them to cut vegetables especially for a salad. That has been proven to make one sick when the salad is mixed with dressings. Just my personal opinion though based on what made people in my life time sick and didn't. Oh and beef, pork, or lamb not a problem that I've ever seen however chicken, turkey or other fouls meat I do avoid mixing cooking tools but only for the last 30 years since they started mass producing it.
 

luvs

'lil Chef
Gold Site Supporter
oh, yeah. i use 2. anytime i cook any meat. i switch when the exterior is cooked.
 

ChowderMan

Pizza Chef
Super Site Supporter
it's the old "cross contamination" issue.

the interior of whole (meat) cuts is "generally" considered sterile - "most" of the time the bad bugs are on the exterior. none of this applies to "ground meats", btw....

so the theory is if there was something nasty on the raw chunk that gets kilt on the grill, you can 'contaminate' the cooked meat chunk with juices/remainders of the raw stuff on the implement.

so I use my bare hands to rub the seasonings into the meat, then bare hand chuck it on the grill, then a fresh plate and tongs/fork/whatever to remove from the grill.

it's the same issue with utensil in salads / other raw dishes. if there's no baddies in the salad, there's no baddie germies on the knife, so you can use it for anything and everything without washing or worrying. if Auntie's mayo&potato salad's been in the hot car for hours; yeah, might wanna keep a special spoon for that . . . .

I'm not poo-pooing the idea - it is "good practice" - it is _required_ practice in commercial settings - but at home not so sure it's quite so "essential"
 

Adillo303

*****
Staff member
Gold Site Supporter
I can't say that I use tongs at all. I use a fork or spatula depending on the meat and then only one.

My opinion though is like JoeC. I would not mix meat and veggie utensils, other than that, I am good to go.
 

Mama

Queen of Cornbread
Site Supporter
I'm with joec and Andy. I don't mix the meat and veggies utensils but other than that I'm good to go. I haven't killed anybody yet :lol:
 

luvs

'lil Chef
Gold Site Supporter
i won't risk it. i'll take washing an extra utensil any day over food poisining.
there's bacteria on the suface of meat, especially older cuts. so the utensil can well be contaminated.
 

Mama

Queen of Cornbread
Site Supporter
Well, if you would like to donate to NCT, you too can get the site supporter sticker. Just click on the Super Site Supporter button at the top left of any page. As for the welcome wagon, that is something that Doc (the owner of NCT) asked a few of us if we would mind helping out with welcoming new members. As for the super moderator....Doc has asked a few of the long time members to be moderators. It's the moderators' job to keep down spam and take care of problems that members may encounter like needing posts and/or threads edited among other things. We also try to keep the peace if there are disagreements and enforce the forum rules that all of the members agreed to when the signed up....it's not always a very fun job but somebody has to do it.
 

QSis

Grill Master
Staff member
Gold Site Supporter
I use one set of tongs for everything, unless I'm cooking poultry. In that case, I'll just wash the tongs after handling the chicken.

Lee
 

Fe Stomach

New member
I have and use two sets, The first set is very long and I use it to set
briquetts, and move them about on the DO.
With the second set, I place my food on the grill or in the DO, (same system for spatula or wooden spoon), then I take the tongs and the plate which I carried the food out on, back to the sink and rinse them both off completely with hot water, then they are back in service.
I guess just like QSis (Lee)

(yep, I'm a wousse)
Scotty :in_love:
 

JoeV

Dough Boy
Site Supporter
Put it all on the grill, go wash the delivery items and finish cooking. I only have one long set of tongs, but I would do the same, regardless. Like JoeC, I wash knives with soap & water between cutting jobs. Oh, and I sanitize cutting boards after use with a spray bottle filled with 1oz bleach and 1 qt of water (same ratio as the store-bought sanitizer that costs a fortune). Never use the same board for beef, pork or chicken until it's been washed, sanitized and dried. I have lots of boards, so I can do it. Not anal, just cautious, and I'm here to talk about it.
 

Paymaster

New member
If I use tongs to load raw meat, I go wash them and reuse to turn or remove meat after cooking. I just use one set.
 

joec

New member
Gold Site Supporter
Put it all on the grill, go wash the delivery items and finish cooking. I only have one long set of tongs, but I would do the same, regardless. Like JoeC, I wash knives with soap & water between cutting jobs. Oh, and I sanitize cutting boards after use with a spray bottle filled with 1oz bleach and 1 qt of water (same ratio as the store-bought sanitizer that costs a fortune). Never use the same board for beef, pork or chicken until it's been washed, sanitized and dried. I have lots of boards, so I can do it. Not anal, just cautious, and I'm here to talk about it.

I do pretty much the same like you said. I don't use bleach and water but do use straight vinegar to wipe down my cutting board after normal use. I wash it once a week however with hot soapy water then allow it to dry and apply a light coat of David's board wax which is basically bee's wax and food grade mineral oil. I only cut washed vegetables and breads on my wooden cutting board. I have the plastic overlays that work fine for meats when raw.

As for the tongs I usually put meats on the grille by hand and if not then I will use tongs. Now if you think about it you will still be touching raw meat on the uncooked side when one flips it the first time. Just lay your tongs tips (metal part if plastic handles) on the grill then. Oh and again Foul is the only thing I treat different, as that can and will make you sick if you aren't careful. That has worked for my grandmother and me for ever. As mama said no one has gotten sick from it.
 

Doc

Administrator
Staff member
Gold Site Supporter
If I use tongs to load raw meat, I go wash them and reuse to turn or remove meat after cooking. I just use one set.
How easy would that be to do? :pat: Sounds like a good idea. I had never even considered the problem before. Been lucky as far as food poisoning goes for sure. Learn something everyday.
Thanks all for your thoughts and insights on this. :beer:
 

ChowderMan

Pizza Chef
Super Site Supporter
>>Been lucky as far as food poisoning goes

there's realities and there possibilities.

do you avoid tall buildings just to prevent a piano from falling on your head?
the reality is not that many piano movers hoist the thing out a window.
can it happen? yes.

for beef the usual culprit is e-coli. e-coli is endemic in the gi tract of pretty much any mammal.
if carelessness gets the upper hand, the gi tract can be compromised at slaughter and there's the possibility for e-coli to spew out all over the carcass.

carcasses are "cleaned / disinfected / sanitized" by various methods to kill off any stray bugs. does it get every last microbe? in all probability, no.

humans ingest "pathogens" every day - the human immune system does a fine job of whacking the bad guys. the problem comes in when the food is mis-handled and the bacteria / bad bugs multiply and basically the human ingests more quantity of bad bugs than the human system can manage. then you get sick. add the usual and customary disclaimer about the very young, the very old, those with compromised . . . .

if one researches the incidence of "food poisoning" due to beef you'll find it's almost exclusively a "ground beef" issue. there's a simple reason for that - any surface bacteria on a whole cut that is ground up gets mixed throughout the "ground beef" - with two effects:

- being inside the mix is a wonderful place for bacteria to thrive & multiply; add temperature mishandling, not a good thing.
- if the ground beef is not thoroughly cooked to temp, the quantity of bacteria is so plentiful it overwhelms the human system and you get sick.

if you cook a whole cut - roast / grill / whatever - if any bacteria is still on the surface most if not all of it gets killed by the exterior temperatures. e-coli is killed at 160'F.

so _if_ you get a hold of a grossly contaminated steak _and_ you use the same utensil for raw & cooked handling _and_ you transfer _enough_ raw bad bugs to the cooked stuff, you get sick.
the ifs just keep piling up . . . .

in the case of poultry more care is a good idea simply because statistically a _lot_ more poultry is "contaminated" (listeria / salmonella - different bugs, same problem) than with beef.
 
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