Three Summer Grilling Food Safety Tips for Grill Masters and Rookies

A seared hamburger on a grill spatula over a flame.

Families will once again commemorate Memorial Day with COVID-19 in mind. Keep your celebrations safe with CDC guidelines we've become accustomed to this past year.

Grillers have the responsibility of delivering a safe and tasty meal. Here are some important food safety tips for both first-time and experienced grill masters.

Tip 1: Know if Your Frozen Food is Raw

Ready-to-cook beef patties and chicken cutlets are convenient, but still need to be cooked thoroughly. Although these frozen products labeled as "Cook and Serve," "Ready to Cook" and "Oven Ready" may appear to be pre-cooked or browned, they need to be handled and prepared as raw food and must be cooked.

Tip 2: Use a Food Thermometer

When preparing meat, always use a food thermometer to check if your meat has reached a safe internal temperature:

  • Beef, pork, lamb and veal (steaks, roasts and chops): 145° F with a three-minute rest time
  • Ground meats (beef, pork, lamb and veal): 160° F.
  • Poultry (whole or ground): 165° F

Use an appliance thermometer in your cooler to monitor that your pre-cooked food stays chilled at 40° F or below.

Tip 3: Thoroughly Cook Tenderized Meat

Experienced grillers love to get the most flavor out of their meat. However, mechanically tenderized meat, including cuts prepackaged in marinades, present different risks and must be cooked thoroughly.

If the outside is contaminated with bacteria, the inside meat will be as well once it is mechanically tenderized.

Ensure a safe barbecue by using a food thermometer! Don't have a thermometer? Call us at the number below.

For more questions about food safety and for a free food thermometer, contact the USDA's Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) to talk to a food safety expert or chat live at from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.