Safe Summer Grilling: Use a Food Thermometer

Avoid food poisoning by using a food thermometer when you grill out this summer.

Memorial Day weekend's almost here. That means grillers everywhere are starting their propane tanks, ready to ignite the summer barbecue season.


We've got all sorts of fun grill gadgets around our house. (My husband's fave is a fireproof glove that lets him flip still-flaming stuff with his hand.) But apparently we're missing the most important: a food thermometer.


Checking the temp of your food ensures that you've cooked it through thoroughly, destroying all harmful foodborne pathogens. And with 48 million cases of food poisoning each year, Americans skip this crucial step too often. According to a 2011 survey from the Home Food Safety program of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, just 23 percent of respondents use a food thermometer to check the "doneness" of their dinner.


You can't use the "look" test to tell if a piece of food is cooked through properly. When it comes to the grill, in fact, one of every four hamburgers turns brown before its been cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature. That means someone at your cookout's likely biting into an underdone, potentially harmful burger.


To use a food thermometer properly:

  • Insert the stem into the thickest part of the food, avoiding bone, fat or gristle.

  • Cook until the thermometer shows an internal temperature of 160° F for ground beef, pork and veal; 145° F for beef, pork, veal and lamb; and 165° F for all poultry.

  • Let beef, veal, lamb, pork and raw ham rest for three minutes after cooking to make sure harmful germs are destroyed.


Check out for all the info you need on safe cooking temps, including a downloadable guide and app. And let us know about some of your BBQ habits. Do you use a food thermometer while you're grilling?


This post is the first in our Tasty Tuesday series, featuring foodie tips, recipes and recommendations about the best eats in Philly and its suburbs, South Jersey and Delaware.

Categories: FYI