University of Illinois Extension

Tips for Safe Grilling

Martha Winter, Nutrition and Wellness Educator

Summer is the time for picnics and cookouts. But before firing up the grill, follow these basic food safety precautions to keep your family healthy:

  • Clean your grill thoroughly before cooking. Scrape off the food build-up and clean with hot, soapy water.
  • Marinate meat or poultry in the refrigerator. Do not reuse marinade from raw meat or poultry on cooked foods. If you want some of the marinade for sauce, set a small amount aside before putting in the raw meat.
  • Cook meat and poultry thoroughly to avoid food-borne illness.
  • Cook ground beef until the internal temperature is at least 160 degrees. Cook chicken pieces until they reach an internal temperature of 180 degrees. If you don't have a food thermometer, check the color. Meat products should not be pink, and the juices should run clear.
  • Put cooked foods from the grill on a clean plate. Do not let raw meat come into contact with cooked meat or other foods.