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Safe Campfire Cooking: Carne Asada, Quesadillas, and Salsa

For Latinos, camping is a family affair; it’s an opportunity to preserve beautiful moments through experiences and photos, cook delicious food and spend quality time with tios and tias, abuelos, cousins, compadres and friends.

For many of us, the smell of carne asada, fresh salsa and cheese quesadillas bring back childhood memories of our camping trips with the family. But preparing meals outdoors can be a challenge. If food isn’t handled properly, it can cause food poisoning. Read 6 Packing Tips to Eat Safely When Camping to learn how to pack food safely and follow the tips below to make sure you’re making your favorite dishes safely:

Safe Campfire Cooking: Carne Asada, Quesadillas, and SalsaCarne Asada – The important thing to remember to prepare steak safely is that it must be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 145°F (63°C) and allowed to rest for three minutes to be sure that any harmful bacteria have been killed. Use a food thermometer to help you measure the internal temperature of meat and be sure to clean the thermometer between uses. Visit for a list of safe internal cooking temperatures for all types of meat.

Quesadillas – Whether you’re making cheese, chicken or steak quesadillas, one of the most important rules of food safety is to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. So always keep cheeses in a cooler before using them and if you’re chopping up some carne asada or shredding chicken to add to quesadillas, keep it on one side of the grill until you’re ready to add it to your tortillas so it stays at a safe temperature but doesn’t over cook.

Fresh Salsa – While fresh vegetables need to be washed or scrubbed with water, they don’t need to be refrigerated or cooked. But if you are preparing fresh salsa on your camping trip, you do need to make sure you don’t get the juices from your raw meat (which might contain bacteria) on your veggies. To do this, wash your hands regularly and use separate cutting boards and knives for fresh vegetables and raw meat. Also, use biodegradable soap for hand and dishwashing. And, to be on the safe side, place your salsa in an ice-filled cooler once it’s prepared.

For more tips like this or for answers to your specific camping food safety questions - in English or Español! - reach out to the USDA by downloading our Ask Karen app. Ask Karen provides 24/7 assistance to prevent food poisoning through safe food handling and storage and safe preparation of meat, poultry and egg products.

Posted in: Camping | Food Outside the HomeTagged: Food Prep