Food Friday: Healthy Barbecue, Grilling, and Picnics.

Everybody loves to play with fire, especially people who like good food and who don't want to be stuck in a hot kitchen in the summertime. 

Check out this comprehensive list of tips for barbecue, grilling and picnics and you will be the smartest flamethrower on the block. 






  • 7000 people each year suffer grilling injuries. 
  • Read your grill's owner's manual. 
  • Use propane and charcoal grills outside only.
  • Use in a well ventilated area, away from combustible material and at least ten feet from a structure. 
  • Ensure the grill is stable. 
  • Do not move a hot grill. 
  • Have long handled cooking utensils.
  • Have fire extinguisher, baking soda, a bucket of sand, or water handy. 
  • For propane grills, check fittings to make sure they're tight. Check propane hose for gas leaks by applying soapy water and checking for bubbles. 
  • Never turn on a gas grill with the lid closed or you will risk explosion ! 
  • For charcoal grills, use a chimney or electric starter. Never add lighter fluid to a flame. 
  • Dispose of cool coals in a metal container. 
  • Keep younger children away from the grill. 
  • Never leave a grill unattended. 


Food Handling: 

  • Buy cold foods like meat and poultry last, when you are about to head for home. Bag them so liquids cannot contaminate other foods that will not be cooked. 
  • Wash hands with soap before handling food, and keep surfaces and utensils clean. 
  • Thaw in the refrigerator or the microwave NOT the counter. 
  • Keep raw food separate from cooked food. 
  • Marinate in the fridge, not on the counter. Poultry and cubed meat may marinate only 2d, other types 5 days. 
  • Trim fat to minimize hazardous flares and unhealthy charring. 
  • Consider precooking to shorten grilling times. 
  • Consider buying a food thermometer. They're inexpensive. 
  • Cook food thoroughly. 

Poultry 165 degrees

Ground red meat 160 degrees

Beef pork lamb and veal 145 degrees, and allow to rest three minutes. 

Reheat cooked meat like hot dogs to 165 degrees. 

  • Keep cold food cold and hot food hot. 
  • Don't let cooked foods sit out more than an hour if the temperature is greater than 90 degrees. 
  • Discard food left out more than 2 hours. 


Healthy Grilling recipes: 

Cooking Light 

Food Network

Eating Well

Fitness Magazine

Food and Wine 






FDA Barbecue Basics

UDSA on food safety

National Fire Protection Safety Association