Food Safety Tips for Grilling

No matter what type of meat you're cooking or what kind of grill you're using, handling meats and poultry safely is crucial.

Food Safety Tips for Grilling
Photo: Colin Peterson
Food Safety Tips for Grilling
Summer Vegetable Kabobs

Grilled Recipes

Your complete recipe guide to grilling, barbecues, and outdoor entertaining.

Follow these tips to ensure safe and tasty grilling:

• Store raw meat in the refrigerator until you are ready to grill. Remove the meat 20 minutes before grilling to allow it to come to room temperature. Marinate meat in the refrigerator, not on the countertop.

• Trim excess fat from meat to avoid flare-ups.

• Never use cooking sprays around a lit grill.

• Make sure your grill is hot before adding the meat. Allow about 10 minutes for a gas grill to heat up and about 30 to 40 minutes if you are using charcoal.

• Don't place cooked meat back on the plates or bowls that held the raw meat. For quick cleanup, try covering the plate with foil before placing raw meat on the plate; once the meat is on the grill, remove and discard the foil. You have a clean plate for serving.

• Boil any leftover marinade that touched raw meat (including what was used for basting) for at least one minute before reusing.

• Use a meat thermometer to make sure that the meat has reached a safe internal temperature. (See "How Hot Should It Be?" below.) Color and feel are not accurate ways to check doneness. Make sure the thermometer isn't touching any bone, as this could give a false reading.

• Refrigerate leftovers promptly.

How Hot Should It Be?
Here's a quick reference for the minimum safe temperature any cut of meat should reach – whether it's cooked in the oven or on a grill.

Beef, ground:160°F degrees
Beef, steaks, and roasts: 145°F degrees
Chicken: 165°F degrees
Lamb:  145°F degrees
Pork: 145°F degrees
Turkey: 165°F degrees


Jun, 2004
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