Grilling Safety: Or How To Not Give Yourself Salmonella

Be clean. The Spurs want some nasty, but not us. Wash your hands and scrub your utensils before you begin to prepare your food. Would you rather spend the night over the toilet or just 20 seconds over the sink with soap and water?

Make sure your ingredients are prepared before you begin cooking. Make things easier for yourself so you're not scrambling around the kitchen. That's how accidents happen. Nobody cries over spilt milk, but you can definitely cry after accidentally touching a steaming surface.

Barring your favorite chef's recommendation to let your meat sit out for a few minutes, always keep your food in the refrigerator until it is ready to be used. That's how bacteria start growing.

And once bacteria make their presence felt, it's hard to reverse it, especially if the food is in the "Danger Zone" between 40 and 140 degrees, seen as a garden for bacteria growth.

Keep your perishables refrigerated or in a nice cool spot. Dairy, meats, poultry, fish – don't leave them out. Make sure to stick them back in the fridge within two hours; under one hour if the temperature is greater than 90 degrees.

Don't trust Dad's "special grilling instructions." Make sure you always follow the manufacturer's directions when grilling. If you don't, you might grill your finger instead of the hot dogs.

Cross Contamination Is Real

When preparing a meal, make sure to have separate sections to keep raw and cooked food apart to prevent cross-contamination.

Throw away marinades that have come in contact with raw meat juices. Do not use on cooked meats!

Clean your cutting boards and utensils between uses with hot and soapy water, don't skimp on cleaning with just one or the other – possible salmonella isn't worth it. Transfer cooked meats off the grill onto a clean plate or tray.

Charcoal & Gas

Don't know if your grill is hot enough? An easy trick to gauge this is to hover your hand over the grill. You'll know it's hot enough when you can't keep it there for more than two seconds.

For charcoal grilling, use commercial charcoal briquettes or aromatic wood chips and follow manufacturer's instructions accordingly for safe use.

Gas grills have hot and cold spots that vary among grills. Refer to your grilling manual for help.

Meat & Poultry

Make sure to thoroughly thaw your meat or poultry before cooking.

Prevent gas flare-ups and fires by trimming the fat off meat before cooking.

Marinate your meats safely by refrigerating them in glass or plastic food-safe containers.

Don't forget about your food thermometer! Use it to gauge the appropriate internal temperature of whatever you're grilling.

USDA's Recommended Safe Minimum Internal Temperatures

Fish: 145 degrees

Pork, Beef, Veal, Lamb — Roasts, Steaks and Chops: 145 degrees , but don't forget the 3 minute rest time!

Pork, Beef, Veal, Lamb — Ground: 160 degrees

Turkey, Chicken and Duck—Roasts, Pieces and Grounds: 165 degrees

Hot dogs: Keep 'em hot! Reheat them until they are steaming hot!

Modified from the USDA's Grill Safe Guidelines