NDSU Extension Service - Benson County

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Grilling Food Safely

By Kimberly Fox, Extension Agent Family Nutrition Program/Family and Consumer Science

As the summer is nearing its end, chance are, your family is trying to spend as much time outside as possible, which may mean cooking outside, too.  Grilling is a great way to prepare a variety of summertime foods, but it is important to keep in mind food safety tips, especially when grilling.  Sometime since we are outside, it can be easy to let basic food safety measures slip, allowing for dangerous food contamination.  Be sure to use a different plate for the raw meat and the meat after it has been cooked.  Additionally, be sure to wash your hands if they come in contact with raw meat.  This may be more difficult if you are preparing food outside, but it is equally important to ensure safe food for you and your family.

Another fool-proof way to stay safe while grilling is to use a food thermometer.  Meats can change color even when they are not done.  This is due to the pH of the meat, which could ultimately give a false sense that the food is safe to eat.  Just because the meat has a smoky flavor and is charred, does not mean it is done.  It may just mean that the meat was cooked at a high temperature.  To be sure the meat is done, refer to the recommended minimum temperatures for meats and other dishes:

  • 145 F Beef, Pork, Lamb Steak, Roasts, and Chops
  • 145 F Fish
  • 160 F Beef, Pork, and Lamb (Ground)
  • 165 F Turkey, Chicken, and Duck (Whole and Ground)
  • 165 F Leftovers and casseroles

It can be easy to skip the food thermometer and hope for the best, but in reality, it is a risk you may not want to take.  There is a long list of food borne illnesses that link directly to undercooked or raw meat. 

Next time you are grilling, or cooking anywhere, be sure to have your food thermometer ready, and check the temperature of your meat.  This will ensure not only good tasting food, but also food that is safe for your family and friends to consume. 

To eat along with your safely grilled meat, try grilling some fruit kabobs!  Below is a recipe for grilled fruit.  Enjoy!

Grilled Fruit Kabobs

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pineapple chunks
  • 1 peach, cubed
  • 1 banana, sliced

Directions:

Place the fruit chunks on a skewer to make kabobs.  Finally, grill the fruit kabobs on low heat until the fruit is hot and slightly golden. 

Makes 3 servings.  Each serving contains 80 calories, 0 grams fat, 0 milligrams of sodium, 21 carbohydrates, and 1 gram of protein.

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