Safe Summertime Grilling Reminders

Sausages and burgers on the grill

Grilling is a great way to help keep the kitchen cool during the summer months and yet prepare delicious meals. Here are some quick reminders to keep the food you grill safe.

  • Cold food colds until ready to grill. Bacteria grows rapidly at room temperature, so meat should remain in the refrigerator until ready to grill. Marinating should be done in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator. If grilling will be done away from home, make sure to transport meat and other cold foods in a cooler with some ice. The goal is to keep meat at refrigerator temperature.
  • Do not reuse the plate that was used to take the meat to the grill. Juices from raw meat and poultry are high in bacteria and could contaminate the cooked meat.
  • Use two cutting boards. One for preparing meat. One for chopping vegetables.
  • Color is not an indicator of doneness. Recent USDA research studies indicate that some ground beef may turn brown before it has reached a safe internal temperature of 160°F. The only safe way to determine if food is done is to use a food thermometer. An instant-read thermometer takes the guess work out of grilling.
  • Avoid partially cooking meat. If you must cook ahead, cook the food completely, cool it quickly in the refrigerator in shallow containers, and reheat it on the grill.
  • Know these safe internal minimum temperatures measured by a food thermometer as determined by the USDA. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook food to higher temperatures.
CategoryFoodTemperature (F)
Ground meat and meat mixturesBeef, pork, veal, lamb160
Turkey, chicken165
Fresh beef, veal, and lambSteaks, roasts, chops145
Poultry (turkey, chicken, duck, goose)Whole poultry, breast, thighs, legs165
Pork and hamFresh pork and ham145
Precooked ham (to reheat)140
SeafoodFin fish145 or until flesh is
opaque and flakes
with a fork
Shrimp, lobster, crabCook until flesh is
pearly and opaque
Clams, oysters, musselsCook until shells
open during cooking
ScallopsCook until flesh is milky
white, opaque, firm
As a general rule, let your food rest for 3 minutes after it is removed from the heat in order to continue to kill dangerous germs. Chart source: Cornell Cooperative Extension

So get out there and enjoy your grill, knowing that you are doing all you can to keep your food safe.

Updated 4/2024, mg.

Beth Marrs

I graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Adult Home Economics Education. I love to cook and entertain and spend time with my family.

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Grilling Made Easy with Marinades

Salmon in a soy sauce marinade
Salmon in a soy sauce marinade

My favorite time of the year is finally here – time to grill! Who doesn’t love the aroma of meat and/or vegetables coming from a grill as you walk around your neighborhood? My family made chicken and steak kebabs last weekend, adding a new touch with the addition of peaches and pineapple. Why have I not tried grilling fruit before now? Both the peaches and pineapple were sweet, juicy and succulent!

The use of a marinade is one way to keep your grilled foods juicy and tender. A marinade not only keeps your food from drying out but also can add additional flavor to your dish. It is important to remember food safety when using a marinade. The effects of marinating are hastened by higher temperatures, but so is the danger of bacterial activity. Refrigerate any foods in their marinade if the immersion period indicated is 1 hour or more. Allow about 1/2 cup of marinade for every pound of food to be processed. Cubed meat is soaked just 2-3 hours; a whole 5-10 pound piece, overnight. Sometimes a recipe calls for the marinade to be made into a sauce for the dish. When doing this, it is important to bring it to a boil on the stove to destroy any harmful bacteria before using it on cooked foods. Using these tips will result in safe, tender, and juicy meats, vegetables and fruitsfrom your grill!



  • 1 1/2 cups flat beer
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • Stir the oil in slowly, then add
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 cloves


  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper

Marinate the meat refrigerated and covered for 2-3 hours. Turn frequently.


  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 minced clove garlic
  • 1 finely chopped medium-sized onion
  • 1/2 tsp. celery salt
  • 1/2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme, tarragon or rosemary

Mix well. Chill several hours in covered jar or dish. Shake well, then pour over the chicken pieces. Chill about 3 hours, turning pieces at least once. Baste during cooking with any excess marinade

REF: Joy of Cooking

Liz Meimann

I received both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Food Science at Iowa State University. I love to quilt, sew, cook, and bake. I spent many years gardening, canning, and preserving food for my family when my children were at home.

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