Barbecue safety

Grill to proper internal temperatures to keep foods safe.

This is the season for food, family, picnics and barbecues. It is important to stay food safe by using a food thermometer when barbecuing. Before you begin the grilling season, explore some tips provided by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to keep you and your family’s food safe.

When purchasing foods for grilling, be careful to transport them safely from the store to your home, keeping meats separate from other foods, particularly poultry. Transport cold foods in coolers or thermal containers, keeping them at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below, refrigerate until it is time to cook.

Keep all cooking utensils and equipment cleaned and sanitized to prevent cross contamination from raw food touching cooked food. Never place cooked foods on platters that have contained raw meats. If you feel you need to precook foods for the grill, the USDA recommends partially cooking foods in a microwave, oven or on a stove to help reduce the time it takes to cook on a grill.

To prevent charring, cook foods with low flame or charcoal, also by removing any visible fat that may cause grease to flare. Other safe practices to follow according to USDA guidelines, pertain to cooking foods to proper internal temperatures.

  • Whole poultry: 165 degrees F
  • Poultry breasts: 165 degrees F
  • Ground poultry: 165 degrees F
  • Ground meats: 160 degrees F
  • Beef, pork, lamb and veal (steaks, roasts and chops): 145 degrees F and allow to rest at least three minutes

Use a meat thermometer to check internal temperatures; this is a minimal temperature as the meat can be cooked to a higher temperature if you choose to do so. Always keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold, and remember to package leftovers in small amounts and keep in a refrigerator. When reheating any food items it is recommended to reheat leftovers to a temperature of 165 degrees F.

It is Michigan State University Extension’s recommendation to follow safe grilling practices to add to a healthy grilling season.

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