King of the Grill

King of the Grill

The heat is on, and BBQ season has officially arrived! Follow our five tips, and you’re sure to be crowned King (or Queen) of the Grill…provided you don’t burn the chicken!

Wash your hands – Did you know that you should wash your hands for 20 seconds? Washing your hands thoroughly can go a long way to prevent food poisoning.  Mix up the menu – Think beyond the typical steaks, hamburgers and hot dogs. Try grilling fish, fresh fruit, and even tofu for a change! You’ll find a handful of healthy meal ideas and cooking tips in Over the Grill! Have two sets of BBQ tongs – Use one set for handling raw meat, raw fish, and raw poultry. Use the other set for taking cooked food off the grill. This prevents cross contamination between raw and cooked foods and helps to prevent food poisoning. If you don’t have two sets of tongs, then wash them in hot soapy water and sanitize them first before using them to handle cooked food. The same applies to cutting boards and plates.

Simple Sanitizing Steps

  1. Combine 5 mL (1 tsp) of bleach with 750 mL (3 cups) of water in a labeled spray bottle.
  2. After cleaning countertops, cutting boards and utensils, spray sanitizer on the surface/utensil and let stand briefly.
  3. Rinse with lots of clean water and air dry (or use clean towels).

Bring out the digital thermometer – You can’t tell if a food is thoroughly cooked just by looking at it. Hamburgers, for example, may be brown in the middle, but may still not be cooked properly. Insert a digital thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, and make sure that it’s at the right temperature before you take it off the grill. Remember to wash the thermometer in hot soapy water between readings. See the temperature chart below.  Pack it up – Bacteria grow quickly in food sitting out on your dining room or patio table. So, get packing and refrigerate any leftovers within two hours. The two-hour rule also applies to fruit salad, melons, pasta and rice dishes too.

Temperature chart

To prevent food poisoning, cook your food to these recommended internal temperatures.

Ground Meat
Beef, pork, veal 71ºC (160ºF)
Chicken, turkey 80ºC (176ºF)
Fresh Beef
Rare 63ºC (145ºF)
Medium 71ºC (160ºF)
Well done 77ºC (170ºF)
Rolled beef roasts or steaks 71ºC (160ºF)
Fresh Pork
Pork chops 71ºC (160ºF)
Roasts 71ºC (160ºF)
Fresh cured ham 71ºC (160ºF)
Cooked ham (to reheat) 60ºC (140ºF)
Chicken, turkey – pieces 77ºC (170ºF)
Reheated 74ºC (165ºF)


What about carcinogens in barbecued food?

Carcinogens are substances that can cause cancer. Here’s what you can do to keep your grilling as healthy as possible:

  • Grill lean cuts of meat
  • Trim off visible fat before grilling
  • Avoid charring meat
  • Reduce the heat or raise the height of the grill if food is starting to burn
  • Keep a spray bottle of water nearby to douse any flare ups
  • Pre-cook chicken in the microwave to cut down on the grilling time
  • Put plenty of cancer fighting veggies and fruit on the grill – either on skewers or on their own

For More Information

Last Update – October 9, 2016

Phone Icon

Dietitians look beyond fads to deliver reliable, life-changing advice. Want to unlock the potential of food? Connect with a dietitian.