Summertime Picnics Call for Safe Grilling Tips

Grilling and picnicking often go hand-in-hand.  And just like with cooking indoors, there are important guidelines that should be followed to ensure that your grilled food reaches the table safely.


  • Marinate Safely.  Marinate foods in the refrigerator – never on the kitchen counter or outdoors.  In addition, if you plan to use some of the marinade as a sauce on the cooked food, reserve a portion separately before adding the raw meat, poultry, or seafood.  Don’t reuse marinade.
  • Cook immediately after “partial cooking.”  If you partially cook food to reduce grilling time, do so immediately before the food goes on the hot grill.
  • Cook food thoroughly.  When it’s time to cook the food, have your food thermometer ready to be sure your food is cooked thoroughly.
  • Keep “ready” food hot.  Grilled food can be kept hot but not overcooked by moving it to the side of the grill rack away from the coals.  Keep food hot at 140°F.
  • Keep cold food cold. Keep cold perishable food in the cooler at 40°F or below until serving time.  Once served, it shouldn’t sit out for longer than 2 hours or 1 hour if above 90°F outdoors.  If it does – discard it.
  • Don’t reuse platters or utensils.  Avoid cross contamination from platters or utensils used for raw food to be reused for cooked foods.  Instead, have a clean platter and utensils ready at grill-side to serve your food.


Safe Food Temperature Chart:

FOOD                                    TEMPERATURE

Steaks, Roasts                         145°

Pork                                             160°

Ground Beef                           160°

Egg Dishes                               160°

Chicken Breasts                     165°

Shrimp, Lobster, Crabs           Cook until pearly & opaque

Clams, Oysters, Mussels         Cook until shells are open

Author: Michelle Hanson

Michelle Hanson, MA, RD, LD is Fresh & Natural Food’s Registered Dietitian. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition and Clinical Dietetics with a minor in Community Health from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. She is a registered dietitian and current member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Michelle has been a nutrition consultant for numerous years as well as a nutrition research director at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.

Michelle is passionate about food and nutrition and believes in helping people find simple, realistic ways to make healthy eating a part of their everyday lifestyle.
If you are interested in meeting Michelle or have questions for her, you can email her at: She will look forward to meeting you!