Barbecue Safety

Written by Brianna Frickenstein, Extension Assistant

Spring is here and summer is close behind, which means it is time to start barbecuing! It is important to remember the food safety rules (clean, separate, cook and chill) along with other important safety measures while having a barbecue.

From Grocery Store to Home

When shopping, be sure to buy perishable foods last to reduce the time they sit at room temperature. Separate raw meat and poultry from other foods in your shopping cart, and put those foods into a plastic bag to reduce the risk of meat juices dripping onto your other groceries causing cross-contamination. When the cashier is bagging the groceries, make sure your raw meat and poultry are in a separate bag.

Travel home soon after grocery shopping and store perishable foods in the refrigerator or freezer as soon as possible. If you are unable to get those groceries refrigerated within two hours, or 1 hour if the temperature is about 90˚ F, place them in a cooler with ice to keep raw meats, poultry, and other perishable items safe until you can get them home and into a refrigerator. Freeze poultry and ground meat that won’t be used in 1 or 2 days and freeze other meat within 4 to 5 days.



Marinate food in a refrigerator, not on the counter. Poultry and cubed/stewed meat can be marinated up to 2 days. Beef, veal, pork, and lamb roasts, chops, and steaks may be marinated up to 5 days. If the marinade is going to be used as a sauce on the cooked food, reserve some before putting raw meat and poultry in it. Or, if it is used on raw meat or poultry, make sure to bring the marinade to a boil before using it on cooked food to destroy any harmful bacteria.

Clean, Separate, Cook, Chill

Clean: Wash hands for at least 20 seconds with warm, soapy water. Be sure all cooking utensils, surfaces, cutting boards, etc. are cleaned with warm, soapy water before being used.

Separate: To prevent foodborne illness, don’t use the same plate/platter or utensils for raw and cooked meats. Also, do not use the same cutting board for raw meats and other food items, such as fruits or vegetables, without cleaning with warm, soapy water.


Cook: Keep raw meats and poultry separate from other foods so the meat juices don’t leak onto the foods and cause cross-contamination and possible foodborne illnesses. Cook foods to their respective temperatures to destroy harmful bacteria. The best way to test the temperature is to use a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat. Cook all raw beef, pork, lamb, veal, chops, and roasts to a minimum temperature of 145˚ F. For all raw ground beef, pork, lamb, and veal the internal temperature should be 160˚F. Cook all poultry to a minimum internal temperature of 165˚F. NEVER partially grill meat or poultry and finish cooking later.

Chill: Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. If food is going to be sitting out for more than 2 hours, or 1 hour on a day with temperatures over 90˚ F, be sure to keep cold items cold with ice or a cooler and keep hot foods hot with some type of food warmer. This will prevent foods from reaching the “danger zone” of 41-140˚ F, which is where bacteria likes to grow. Keep meats hot by setting them to the side of the grill rack, not directly over the coals where they could overcook. At home, the cooked meat could be kept hot in an oven set at 200˚ F, in a slow cooker, or on a warming tray. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours and be sure to eat the leftovers within 4 days.

Pinterest pins

Grilled Fish Tacos with Peach Salsa

4 Servings

Recipe adapted from the USDA Mixing Bowl

Prep time: 30 minutes


IMG_0007For the salsa:

  • 1 can (15.25 oz.) peach halves (drained, rinsed, chopped (about 1 cup))
  • ½ red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • ¼ red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 whole jalapeno pepper (rinsed, seeded and finely chopped)
  • 1 T. fresh cilantro
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice

For the fish:

  • 4 Tilapia fillets (about 1 pound)
  • 1 T. chili powder
  • ½ to 1 package of low sodium taco seasoning or seasoning of choice
  • 8 (6-inch) flour tortillas (warmed)



For the salsa:

  1. In a medium bowl, stir together chopped peaches, bell peppers, onions, jalapenos, cilantro, and lemon juice; cover and refrigerate until ready to use.IMG_0011

For the fish:

  1. Heat grill to medium-high heat. Using paper towels, pat fish dry, transfer to a plate.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together chili powder and low sodium taco seasoning (or seasoning of choice).
  3. Rub fish with spice mixture to coat completely.
  4. Place fish on hot greased grill grates.*
  5. Cook, flipping once until fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork (145˚ F), about 8 minutes.
  6. Thinly slice fish.
  7. To serve, fill each tortilla with ½ fish fillet, and about 1/3 cup of salsa.IMG_0023


Nutrition Information per Serving: Calories 330, Total Fat 5 g (8% DV),  Saturated Fat 2 g (8% DV), Sodium 380 mg (16% DV), Total Carbohydrate 44 g (15% DV), Dietary Fiber 3 mg (12% DV), Sugars 18 mg, Protein 27 g, Vitamin C 57%, Calcium 10%, Iron 17%

Cost per serving: $3.47 per serving (including grilled corn)

*Fish can also be baked in the oven at 450° For 7 to 9 minutes.


USDA Mixing Bowl.

USDA – Food Safety and Inspection Service.

Photos by Morgan Hartline, MS, RD, LMNT



2 thoughts on “Barbecue Safety

  1. Reblogged this on Home Wise! Family Smart! and commented:
    Hot! Hot! Hot! It is barbecue season! Make it Tasty and Make it Safe! This blog is from our colleagues with Nebraska Extension Nutrition Education Program. It also has a tasty fish taco recipe that I’ve made many times myself and a peach salsa recipe (need to try this!). Enjoy!!! Soni

    Liked by 1 person

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