Safe Grilling Tips
- Start clean! Between each use, scrape and clean your grill grates (and clean the grease catch pan on a gas grill), removing any debris. Follow the manufacturer's directions for cleaning the inside of the grill, the burners, and any lava rocks or ceramic briquettes.
- Check the inside temperature. Use a meat thermometer to make sure meat and poultry are safely cooked from the inside out: grilling hamburgers, 160° F; grilling sausages (precooked and uncooked), 160° F; grilling steaks, at least 145° F; grilling chicken or turkey breast, 170° F; grilling turkey or chicken legs, 180° F; grilling a whole chicken, 180° F.
- Adjust your grill grates... for even cooking. Cooked too close to the coals, meat or poultry may look done on the outside, even though it's still raw inside. Check for doneness with your meat thermometer.
- Separate... raw and cooked meat to keep harmful bacteria from spreading. Wash or use different plates, cutting boards, or utensils for raw and grilled meat, poultry, or fish. Tip: Plan ahead; before starting to grill, have a clean plate and utensils ready to take grilled food to the table. Safe grilling is more than just not getting burnt.
- Flare-ups? "Prep" ahead to avoid the flames and smoke caused by fat drippings. Trim away visible fat, and drain off high-fat marinades. Then if the flames flare up: 1) For a gas grill, shut off the burners until the flame subsides, then re-light; and never use water on a gas grill, 2) for a charcoal grill, simply move your food to another part of the grill.