May 19, 2019

It's In The Bag - An Unmistakably Weis blog on food and life

Grill Safe Guide

POSTED BY | POSTED IN Food Safety, Hot Topics, Seasonal Tips | POSTED ON 5-23-2012

Use these simple guidelines for grilling food safely. 

From the Store

  • Buy cold food like meat and poultry last, right before checkout.
  • Separate raw meat and poultry from other food in your shopping cart.
  • Put packages of raw meat and poultry into plastic bags, separate from your other groceries.
  • Always refrigerate perishable food within 2 hours. Refrigerate within 1 hour when the temperature is above 90 °F.
  • At home, place meat and poultry in the refrigerator immediately.  Freeze poultry and ground meat that won’t be used in 1 or 2 days; freeze other meat within 4 to 5 days.

Thaw Safely

  • Completely thaw meat and poultry before grilling so it cooks more evenly.
  • Use the refrigerator for slow, safe thawing or thaw sealed packages in cold water.
  • For quicker thawing, defrost in the microwave and then immediately place on the grill.


  • Marinate food in the refrigerator, not on the counter.
  • Poultry and cubed meat or stew meat can be marinated up to 2 days.  Beef, veal, pork, and lamb roasts, chops, and steaks may be marinated up to 5 days.
  • If using some of the marinade as a sauce on cooked food, set aside a portion before marinating raw food.  If reusing marinade used on raw meat or poultry, boil it first to destroy any harmful bacteria.

Keep Everything Clean

  • To prevent foodborne illness, don’t use the same platter and utensils for raw and cooked meat and poultry.
  • If you’re eating away from home, find out if there’s a source of clean water. If not, bring water for preparation and cleaning. Or pack clean cloths, and moist towelettes for cleaning surfaces and hands.

Keep Cold Food Cold

  • Keep cold food at 40 °F or below to minimize bacterial growth.
  • When traveling, use an insulated cooler with sufficient ice to keep food cool.  Keep the cooler out of the direct sun. Avoid opening the lid too often.

Cook Thoroughly

  • Cook food to a safe minimum internal temperature to destroy harmful bacteria.  Use a food thermometer to be sure the food has reached a safe minimum internal temperature.

Safe Minimum Internal Temperatures

  • Whole poultry: 165 °F
  • Poultry pieces: 165 °F
  • Ground poultry: 165 °F
  • Ground meats: 160 °F
  • Beef, pork, lamb and veal: 145 °F and allow to rest at least 3 minutes.

*Reheat leftovers to165 °F or until steaming hot.

Keep Hot Food Hot

  • Keep cooked food hot until served – at 140 °F or warmer.
  • Keep cooked meats hot by setting them to the side of the grill rack, not directly over the coals where they could overcook.


  • Always refrigerate perishable food within 2 hours.
  • Refrigerate within 1 hour when the temperature is above 90 °F.

Content modified from the United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service. 

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