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May 4, 2014 04:03 PM

Total Rookie - Super Basic Food safety Questions


Hope everyone is well!

Please bear with me as I am a lone student who doesn't have anyone yet to teach me how to cook.

First question,

I am starting with Chicken and ground beef.

In order to make sure everything remains clean and sanitary, here are my questions:

1) I don't have a cutting board, can I just put the beef on glass plates, and make burgers, and afterwards wash the plate in the dishwasher? (In other words, I read how you have to use at least vinegar and hydrogen peroxide for cutting boards, so does the dishwasher do the trick?)

2) Same question as above, but I will broil the burgers on a pan with a rack in it. So after using the pan/rack, do I just put it in the dishwasher as well, or are there any other extra cleaning steps?

3) Same clean/safety question, after weighing any meat in a stainless steel bowl weight, I can just put the bowl in my dishwasher?

After all of your help, I'll ask a few more questions about the cooking / recipe!

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  1. Yes all those are fine but I suggest you rinse all of those off unless you are starting the dishwasher right away. Also dont put the cooked burgers on the plate you use for prep before cleaning it. I suggest you watch some youtube videos, they might be easier to follow than what someone writes. I personally like a youtuber called foodwishes.

    2 Replies
    1. re: kpaxonite

      Thanks for your reply, if you can link me to videos that would be great. I tried searching on the foodwishes channel but didn't find anything specific to food prep and cleaning.

      1. re: CulinaryLearner

        He doesnt have any on cleaning I dont think..... I was just suggesting it for simple recipes in the future where someone shows you how to make it properly.

    2. Dishwasher is good for all of those, but depending on your dishwasher and how well it works, you may have to do some scrubbing with the pan that you are broiling the burgers on to get the cooked on stuff off.

      I also use the dishwasher for my cutting mats most of the time as well.

      1. Just remember that if raw meat has touched something, it should be kept separate from anything that is then going to hold food that you will be eating! Soap and water will work well to clean up hands and anything else. And buy a cutting board, they are worth the investment.

        5 Replies
        1. re: DrMag

          You need a cutting board. If you are poor, you can buy one in a dollar store, though you'll eventually want to invest in something a bit better (it need not be expensive). Remember, it is also important to eat vegetables!

          1. re: lagatta

            You can use the styrofoam tray the meat was packed on as a cutting board - but only once! Toss it out promptly as the raw juices will permeate the cuts.

            You don't need the dishwasher for cleanup. They didn't exist when I was a kid and everyone used a dishpan with hot, soapy water. I live alone, and would rather wash dishes in the sink than have them sit in the DW unwashed for days on end waiting for a full load, so decades ago I had the DW disconnected.

          2. re: DrMag

            Agree about getting a cutting board. You might like one made of synthetic/manmade materials over wood, since they are dishwasher safe and much more affordable for a newbie in the kitchen.

            My bf bought a few of these thin plastic ones for us to have on hand when we're both cooking simultaneously or have lots of veggies to chop and they're nice because they fold up when not in use and take no space. Would be great for a small space or a beginner. They're similar to these:

            Also agree with everyone else--wash everything the raw meat touches (plates, cutting boards, forks, spatulas, etc.) before using them with "done" food. That includes chopping any veggies for burger toppings or salad BEFORE you pull your meat out (or at least use a clean knife and cutting board).

            Everything you mentioned can go in the dishwasher, but you should probably rinse them off first. If you're not going to run the dishwasher in the next hour or so, you should probably wash the dirty dishes with soap as well.

            And wash your hands after handling the meat :)

            1. re: nothingswrong

              Agree on the thin plastic cutting mats - I love mine. They are lightweight, and flexible, so it is easy to bend them to direct chopped foods into the pot or pan. The set I currently have is color coded and have holes for hanging. They are light, and I keep them hanging on a hook right next to my sink. They do get beat up eventually, but they are inexpensive enough to replace every once in a while, which I'd have to do anyway since I have a compromised immune system.

              1. re: jw615

                Those thin mats kill your knives, though.

          3. I'd start with a book, something simple like Modernist Cuisine.

            No but for real, I keep some 99% isopropyl alcohol around at all times for cleaning purposes.

            1. I've never cleaned cutting boards with anything other than hot water, soap and elbow grease. I'll spritz and wipe down the counters with vinegar after prepping a turkey, to catch splashes, though.

              The basic steps I take (I don't have a dishwasher, so everything is hand washed).

              - store raw meat, poultry and fish separately from vegetables. Put them in a separate bag for transportation home from the grocery store, and put them in the fridge so that the packages don't touch, and can't drip on, other food (ie, the bottom shelf of the fridge).

              - prep raw meat separately from vegetables. When I'm finished with the meat and it is cooking I scrub down the cutting board with soap and hot water (including the back and sides), wash the utensils and any other dishes I've used, and wipe down the counter before moving to other food.

              - always wash my hands with soapy water between raw meat and handling anything else.

              - make sure to clean stuff you touch with meaty hands. For example, if you turn on the kitchen tap with meaty hands and wash your hands, but don't wipe the tap, you'll get meat juice back on your hands when you turn the tap off. Ditto for spoon handles, or pot handles.

              Two of the biggest sources of contamination for home cooks are when organisms from raw meat are transferred to vegetables which are served raw (like salad fixings), or cooked food that is contaminated (say, by touching it with dirty hands) and then sits at a temperature where the bacteria can multiple.

              And I agree with other posters that for the rack, you'll want to hand wash it, maybe with steel wool, to get the crunchy burnt bits off. That's not for safety, but because the dishwasher won't get it off.

              2 Replies
              1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                I guess OP could also get designated "meat" and "veggie" cutting boards. May be out of budget, but if he/she is really worried, it couldn't hurt.

                I hesitate to mention this... My mother always taught me to prep meats on disposable plates or aluminum foil, and transfer meats the same way. So when she'd make burgers, she'd prep a large paper plate (Costco) wrapped in foil and set it next to the sink. Then she'd make the patties and set them on the plate as she made each one, not touching the rim of the plate. Then she'd carry the whole thing out to the grill, transfer the patties to the grill, and throw the whole foil plate away.

                She did the same thing with chicken or steak or shrimp when grilling(which was several nights a week).

                I do this too now, even just when prepping in the kitchen, and find it very simple with no risk for cross contamination. I do cook meat quite rarely though, and it's usually just for 2. Not sure how "green" this would be for a whole family eating meat nightly.

                1. re: nothingswrong

                  Thanks for this, I might do this from time to time!