NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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Grilling Like a Pro

Grilling Like a Pro


                                As our hot weather and summer season continues, our backyard grills are fired up and ready to cook a delicious meal without heating up the kitchen.  There are hundreds of delicious meals that can be prepared on a grill but always include food safety in your menu to avoid unwanted food poisoning.

                This year, one in six Americans will get sick from food poisoning (also known as foodborne illness). Food poisoning can affect anyone who eats food contaminated by bacteria, viruses, parasites, toxins, or other substances. Some groups of people – such as older adults, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems – have a higher risk of getting sick from contaminated food.  And if they do get sick, the effects of food poisoning are a lot more serious.

                This summer practice food safety by “Grilling Like A Pro” using a food thermometer. The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service reminds us all that we can’t see bacteria on our burgers, hotdogs, and other meats and poultry; checking the internal temperature is the best way to ensure protection.

So what does it mean to grill like a PRO? Read on to learn three easy steps for safe summer sizzling:

                P—Place the Thermometer!

Think your food is ready? Make sure by checking the internal temperature. Find the thickest part of the meat (usually about 1.5 to 2 inches deep), and insert the thermometer. If you’re cooking a thinner piece of meat, like chicken breasts or hamburger patties, insert the thermometer from the side.  Make sure that the probe reaches the center of the meat.

                R—Read the Temperature!

Wait about 10 to 20 seconds for an accurate temperature reading.  Use the following safe internal temperature guidelines for your meat and poultry.

  • Beef, Pork, Lamb, & Veal (steaks, roasts, and chops): 145 °F with a 3-minute rest time
  • Ground meats: 160 °F
  • Whole poultry, poultry breasts, & ground poultry: 165 °F

                O—Off the Grill!

Once the meat and poultry reach their safe minimum internal temperatures, take the food off the grill and place it on a clean platter.  Don’t put cooked food on the same platter that held raw meat or poultry.  Also remember to clean your food thermometer probe with hot, soapy water or disposable wipes.

                For a fast but flavorful main dish, try the following easy version of barbequed chicken.


Southern-Style Barbecued Chicken

  • 1 can (26-ounces) condensed tomato soup
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 8 chicken breast halves (about 4 pounds), skin removed


  • Thoroughly combine soup, honey, mustard and onion powder.
  • Lightly oil the grill rack and heat the grill to medium. Grill the chicken for 20 minutes, turning the chicken over once during grilling.
  • Brush the chicken with the soup mixture and grill for 15 minutes or until cooked through to 165 degrees, turning and brushing often with the soup mixture.
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