Memorial Day is almost here and for many people, that means it’s time to get out the grill. While you can certainly grill fruits, vegetables and even pizza for Memorial Day, most people think about meat when grilling season rolls around. Before you get the grill out and get ready to entertain your family and friends this summer, I wanted to share with you how to grill meat safely.

How to Grill Meat Safely for Memorial Day

Burgers, hot dogs, chicken, steaks, and ribs. There are so many different types of meats you can enjoy for Memorial Day picnics and barbecues. The hot summer sun combined with raw meat and improper handling can result in food poisoning if you aren’t careful. You don’t want anyone to get sick at your party this year. Follow these safety tips when you’re getting your grill ready:

  • Keep foods separate – Always keep your food separate. Never put raw meat next to fresh fruits and vegetables. Don’t use the same cutting board to cut your vegetables that you used to slice your chicken breasts. Always wash each cutting board, plate and knife in between use to eliminate cross contamination of bacteria.
  • Wash your hands – Remember to wash your hands in between handling raw meat and anything else. It takes about 20 seconds under warm water with soap to kill bacteria and prevent infection.
  • Keep meat in the refrigerator – Do not let the meat sit out on the counter while you get the rest of the dishes together. Keep meat in the refrigerator until the moment you’re ready to put it on the grill. Don’t let your leftovers sit out in the sun, either. Promptly put any leftover meat back into the refrigerator. If you have leftover raw meat that you won’t be cooking, put it back into the freezer within 24 hours.
  • Cook thoroughly and use a thermometer – When you’re cooking meat, use a meat thermometer to be certain it’s cooked through. It may look cooked from the outside, but it’s important to be sure the meat is the proper temperature to avoid illness. Chicken should be cooked to 165F. Cook ground beef to 160F. Steaks can be between 145F and 170F depending on how you like them cooked. Cook pork to 160F and hot dogs to 165F.

Now that you know how to grill meat safely, it’s time to start thinking about what else to serve for Memorial Day. I could go for a huge bowl of fruit salad!