CFAES Give Today
OSU Extension

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

May 17, 2023 - 8:41am --

The days are getting warmer and after being cooped up for so long, I am excited to get outside and enjoy delicious food on the grill. A co-worker of mine shared some of the following tips for using the grill that I thought you might find helpful. 

Grilling is a healthy cooking option and isn’t just for meats. Grilled veggies can become a family favorite and are perfect foil wrapped or in a grilling basket. Regardless of what you put on the grill, it is important to keep it food safe.

Grill safe: Here are some tips, from the meat to the marinade:

  1. Food safety starts at the grocery store. Especially on warm days (70 degrees and above), remember to take a cooler with you to keep meats cold on the way home. Keep the cooler in the passenger area of the car as it can be air conditioned and will not be as hot as the trunk.  Make this your last stop before heading home.
  2. Store meats in the refrigerator or freezer until you are ready to use them. If you plan to grill a frozen product, plan ahead and thaw it in the refrigerator overnight or defrost it in the microwave just prior to grilling. Never thaw frozen meat on the counter.
  3. Be mindful of marinades. If you intend to keep the marinade for later use, be careful not to contaminate your marinade by touching the utensil to the meat and then placing it back into the marinade container. If you plan to use the marinade you have applied to the meat as a dipping sauce or topping, it must be heated to a boil.  If marinating before grilling, be sure to do it in the refrigerator, not on the counter at room temperature. Vegetables are less likely to stick if they are coated in a marinade first.
  4. Use a thermometer to check that meats are done. provides a list of minimum internal cooking temperatures for a wide variety of foods.  The food thermometer should be placed in the thickest part of the meat and should not be touching bone, fat or gristle.  Check the temperature in several places to make sure the food is evenly heated. 
  • Beef, veal and lamb steaks and roasts: 145 °F for medium rare and 160 °F for medium.
  • Ground pork and ground beef: 160 °F.
  • Poultry: to at least 165 °F.
  • Fin fish: 145 °F or until the flesh is opaque and separates easily with a fork.
  • Shrimp, lobster and crabs: The meat should be pearly and opaque.
  1. Use a clean plate for cooked items; never use the same plate for raw and cooked products.
  2. Remember to use separate cutting boards for raw meats and items that will not be cooked. For example, prepare your hamburger patties on one cutting board and slice your tomatoes and onions on another. If you only have one cutting board, make sure to wash, rinse, and sanitize it after working with meats and before preparing ready to eat items.
  3. Never let raw meat, poultry, eggs, cooked food or cut fresh fruits or vegetables sit at room temperature for more than two hours before putting them in the refrigerator or freezer (one hour when the temperature is above 90 °F).

For more information about grilling safely, visit the Partnership for Food Safety Education. Enjoy safe and delicious food every time you grill!

Melinda Hill is an OSU Extension Family & Consumer Sciences Educator and may be reached at 330-264-8722
This article was previously published in The Daily Record.