Barbecue safety

Grill to proper internal temperatures to keep foods safe.

Many foods taste better when cooked on the barbecue. Taste can be compromised if we neglect food safety. So before you begin the grilling season, explore some tips provided by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that you can follow to keep your and your families food safe.

When purchasing foods to grill, be careful to transport them safe from the store to your home. We can do this by keeping meats separate from other foods, particularly poultry. Transport cold foods in thermal containers then place them in the refrigerator to keep them cool until it is time to place them on the grill. This is also important when marinating and thawing meats.

Be sure to have all items and tools clean to prevent cross contamination from occurring. 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 that should be followed, according to USDA guidelines, pertain to cooking foods to proper internal temperatures.

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

Use a meat thermometer to check internal temperatures; this is a minimal temperature as the meat may 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 Fahrenheit.

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

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