Grill Safety

Safely preparing, cooking and storing your food can make the difference between a cookout everyone wants to remember and an event everyone wants to forget.

Keep meat, poultry, and seafood refrigerated until ready to grill. When transporting, keep below 40°F in an insulated cooler.  Consider monitoring food using a refrigerator thermometer 


Wash your hands with soap before and after handling raw meat, poultry, and seafood. Wash work surfaces, utensils, and the grill before and after cooking.

Check your grill and tools
Use a moist cloth or paper towel to clean the grill surface before cooking. If you use a wire bristle brush, thoroughly inspect the grill’s surface before cooking. Wire bristles from grill cleaning brushes may dislodge and stick into food on the grill.

Don’t cross-contaminate
Throw out marinades and sauces that have touched raw meat juices, which can spread germs to cooked foods. Use clean utensils and a clean plate to remove cooked meat from the grill.

Use a food thermometer to ensure meat is cooked hot enough to kill harmful germs. When smoking (indirect heat), monitor temperatures inside the smoker and keep between 225°F to 300°F to ensure meat is at a safe temperature while it cooks.

145°F – whole cuts of beef, pork, lamb, and veal (stand-time of 3 minutes at this temperature)
145°F – fish
160°F – hamburgers and other ground beef
165°F – all poultry and pre-cooked meats, like hot dogs

After Grilling:

140°F or warmer – until it’s served

The Two-Hour Rule

  • Throw away any perishable foods that have been out at room temperature for 2 hours or more.
  • Toss them after 1 hour if they’ve been sitting out at temperatures of 90°F or hotter, such as food served at a picnic or outdoor family reunion.

Divide leftovers into small portions and place in covered, shallow containers. Put in freezer or fridge within two hours of cooking (one hour if above 90°F outside).   All Leftovers should be reheated to at least 165°F before serving. This includes leftovers warmed up in the microwave

You can also find a Food Safety Flyer   at the CDC website as  a great reference.