Thaw safely

  • Use the refrigerator for slow, safe thawing or thaw sealed packages in cold water.
  • For quicker thawing, defrost in the microwave if the food will be placed immediately on the grill.
  • Thaw meat and poultry completely before grilling.


  • Marinate food in the refrigerator, not on the counter
  • Do not reuse a marinade. 

Keep cold food cold

  • Keep meat and poultry refrigerated until ready to use. Only take out the meat and poultry that will immediately be placed on the grill.
  • When using a cooler, keep it out of the direct sun by placing it in the shade or shelter. Avoid opening the lid too often.
  • Pack beverages in one cooler and perishables in a separate cooler. Separate ready-to-eat foods from raw meat, fish, or poultry.

Keep everything clean

  • Be sure there are plenty of clean utensils and platters. Don't use the same platter and utensils for raw and cooked meat, fish, or poultry.
  • If you're grilling away from home, find out if there's a source of clean water. If not, bring water for preparation and cleaning. Make sure to bring a clean tablecloth and clean water, soap, and towels for washing hands. 


A pile of sliced vegetables such as zucchini, onions, eggplant, and tomato, all with grill marks.

Cook thoroughly

  • Cook food to a safe minimum internal temperature to destroy harmful bacteria.
  • Meat and poultry cooked on a grill often brown very fast on the outside.
  • Use a food thermometer to be sure the food has reached a safe minimum internal temperature.
  • Let all meat rest at least three minutes after cooking.

Meats and minimum temperatures

Poultry Breast
165°F for 15 seconds
Ground Poultry
165°F for 15 seconds
Ground Meats
160°F for 15 seconds
145°F for 15 seconds

Grilling chicken

On the grill, chicken can become crisp on the outside and undercooked on the inside. Before putting chicken on the grill, place a glass dish with chicken and marinade in a microwave oven. Microwave on HIGH 3 to 4 minutes. Turn chicken over and microwave 3 to 4 minutes longer.

Place chicken on grill. Grill about 5 minutes on each side to complete cooking.

Featured Recipe

Grilled Quesedilla with Vegetables

Wash all vegetables.Collect, dice, shred, and measure all ingredients before starting to prepare the recipe.Spray a large skillet with cooking spray. Add zucchini,broccoli, green pepper, onion, and carrot. Cook vegetables on medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove vegetables from skillet and put on a clean plate.Spray skillet with cooking spray again and place 1 tortilla in the skillet. Top with 1/2 cup vegetables and 1 1/2 ounces of cheese.Place a second tortilla on top. Cook on medium low heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until the cheese starts to melt and the bottom tortilla starts to brown.Use a metal turner to flip the quesadilla. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes or until tortilla browns.Repeat steps 4 through 6 to make additional quesadillas.Cut each quesadilla in half or quarters and serve hot with your favorite salsa or other toppings.