Tips for Keeping Grilled Food Safe

— Written By Emily Troutman and last updated by
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The weather’s heating up, and so is your grill! Outdoor cooking is a great way to celebrate the sunshine with friends and family, but it can also pose risks to proper food safety. Follow these simple guidelines to keep bacteria at bay!

  • Marinate meats in the refrigerator, not on the counter. Room temperature is a great environment for bacteria to grow.
  • If you would like to use your marinade for basting or dipping, reserve some before it comes in contact with raw meat or bring it to a boil after marinating and before basting.
  • Wash any utensils or plates that have come in contact with raw meat before using them with cooked foods.
  • Use a food thermometer to ensure that meat has reached proper cooking temperature. Color of meat or juices do not ensure proper cooking temperature has been reached. Failure to reach proper cooking temperature will not ensure elimination of harmful pathogens including E.coli and Salmonella.
Meat Type Examples Proper Internal Cooking Temperature
Whole muscle, intact meat Steak, fish filets, pork chops, etc. 145℉
Ground meat Ground beef, sausage, etc. 160℉

Chicken, turkey, duck, etc.

(including ground poultry)

  • Serve food as soon as possible after grilling to avoid cooling to a temperature ideal for pathogen growth. If the outdoor temperature is 85°F or hotter, serve within an hour.
  • On days hotter than 90 degrees refrigerate within 2 hours after cooking. On cooler days refrigerate within 4 hours after cooking.

Fire up the grill and try this delicious, healthy chicken recipe! Pair with grilled vegetables.

Marinated Lemon Thyme Chicken

4 skinned chicken pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
2 cloves garlic, minced


  1. Mix oil, lemon juice, thyme, and garlic.
  2. Place chicken in a shallow container and cover with mixture.
  3. Let sit in refrigerator 30 minutes. Preheat grill or broiler. Cook chicken until it reaches at least 165℉.

Serves 4.