Grilling Guide

Gear up for grilling with these tools, tips, temperatures and tricks for the perfect tailgating party or BBQ with family and friends.

Grilling Basics

Whether you're a novice griller or an experienced outdoor chef, a few grilling tips and tricks can go a long way.

Marinate or season your foods prior to grilling for deep-down, delicious flavor. Thawed meats can marinate in a bag or closed container in the refrigerator for up to two days.

Gauge the temperature of your grill with a grill thermometer before adding your food.

Create a grilling hot zone and a moderate hot zone to have more control over how quickly different foods cook.

Cook with the grill lid and vents closed as much as possible to prevent flare-ups.

Turn meat and poultry with grilling tongs rather than piercing it with a meat fork. Piercing causes loss of flavorful juices.

Don’t press the patty. Pressing burgers will squeeze out the precious juices and fats that make them so tasty.

Check the doneness of your steak by pressing your fingertip lightly on the top. Rare steak will feel soft while well-done steak will feel firm and bounce back.

Keep your grill clean after each use to prevent build-up. A wire grill brush is the best tool for the job.

Try something new! Everyone loves burgers, brats and steaks on the grill, but these less-meaty options are always a hit:

  • Grilled bell or chili peppers
  • Grilled jalapeño poppers
  • Grilled eggplant
  • Grilled portabellas
  • Grilled herb potatoes
  • Grill-roasted corn
  • Grilled summer squash

Grilling Temperatures

Keep food safety at the top of your to-do list with the following grilling tips and guidelines:

  • A good dial or digital food thermometer will help eliminate any worry you have about undercooked meats.
  • Thoroughly thaw frozen meat and poultry before grilling so it cooks more evenly.
  • For added safety, never partially grill meat or poultry and finish cooking later.
The USDA recommends the following internal temperatures:
Whole Poultry 165°F
Poultry Breasts 165°F
Ground Poultry 165°F
Ground Meats 160°F
Beef, Pork, Lamb & Veal 145°F and allow 3 minutes resting
Reheating Fully Cooked Meats 165°F

Keep it clean! To avoid cross-contamination, use separate utensils and platters for raw and cooked foods. Harmful bacteria in raw meats and poultry and their juices can contaminate your cooked food.

When camping or tailgating, try to find a source of clean water. If one isn't available, bring bottled water for preparation and cleaning. Pack clean cloths or moist towelettes to clean surfaces and keep your hands clean.