Summer is the perfect season to cook outdoors. Few aromas are more enticing than a juicy burger or veggie kebabs cooking over an open flame. But when grills aren’t used safely, they pose a serious risk. Unsafe grilling can cause significant injuries, property damage and home fires.
Before you tie on that apron and fire up the backyard BBQ, take a moment to review these grilling tips to help keep your family and friends safe during a cookout.1,2,3
Safe grilling tips:
- When using propane gas, check the tank and hose for leaks or cracks. Make sure the connection to the grill is secure.
- Always open the grill lid before turning on the gas and lighting the grill.
- Clean the grill before and after every use. Remove grime, charred food and grease buildup from the grates, lids and grease trays.
- Grills should be placed at least three feet away from anything that could catch fire. This includes buildings, deck railings, planters, bushes, trees, cars and lawn furniture.
- Don’t grill in a garage or under a covered area.
- Never leave a grill unattended.
- Keep children, pets and toys away from the grilling area. Be wary of bouncing balls and other objects that can accidentally land on the grill.
- Use long-handled grilling tools.
- Never dump used charcoal or wood chips into a trash can or onto the ground. Allow them to completely cool before disposing of them in a metal container.
- Use a meat thermometer to make sure your food is cooked to a safe temperature. The USDA recommends these minimum internal temperatures:4
|Type of meat||Minimum internal temperature and rest time|
|Beef, pork, veal and lamb steaks, chops, roasts||145°F, allow to rest for at least 3 minutes|
|Ground meats (beef, pork, lamb)||160°F|
|Ground poultry (turkey, chicken)||165°F|
|Ham, fresh or smoked (uncooked)||145°F, allow to rest for at least 3 minutes|
|All poultry (breasts, whole bird, legs, thighs, drumsticks, wings)||165°F|
|Fish and shellfish||145°F|
Now that you’ve prepped and fireproofed your outdoor cooking area, get ready, get set and grill! Here’s a delicious recipe to get you started.
Jerked chicken with fire-roasted fresh pineapple
Fresh pineapple on the grill unleashes a whole new level of flavor.5
Makes: 4 servings
- 2 (10- to 12-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut in half
- 1 tablespoon ground allspice
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 4 tablespoons canola oil, separated
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- Juice of 1 lime
- 3 medium green onions, finely chopped
- 1 jalapeño pepper, chopped*
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 (3½-by-¾-inch) fresh pineapple slices**
- 2 tablespoons honey
- Dash of hot pepper sauce
- In a medium bowl, combine the allspice, thyme, cinnamon and nutmeg.
- Add 2 tablespoons canola oil, vinegar and lime juice. Mix with a wire whisk to blend well.
- Add the green onion, jalapeño pepper and garlic; mix well. Set aside.
- Place the chicken breasts in a baking dish. Brush the jerk sauce evenly over both sides of the chicken breasts.
- Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or longer if possible.
- Preheat the grill to a medium-high temperature.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade; discard the marinade.
- Place the chicken breasts on the hot grill, with the thicker portion facing the hotter part of the grill.
- Grill for about 6 to 8 minutes on each side. Use an instant-read thermometer to check for doneness; the internal temperature of the chicken should reach 165°F when cooked through.
- Allow the grilled chicken to rest for 5 minutes, covered, before serving.
- While the chicken is cooking, brush the pineapple slices lightly with the remaining 2 tablespoons canola oil.
- Place the pineapple on the grill; cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until heated through and lightly charred with grill marks. Remove from the grill.
- In a small bowl, combine the honey with hot pepper sauce; blend well. Drizzle over the pineapple.
- Serve the jerked chicken breasts with grilled pineapple slices.
*If you prefer more heat, add another jalapeño pepper or an extra splash of hot pepper sauce.
**For convenience, buy fresh pineapple that’s been pre-sliced.
(Serving size: ½ chicken breast and 2 pineapple slices)
Calories: 420; Total fat: 18g; Saturated fat: 2g; Trans fat: 0g; Sodium: 170mg; Cholesterol: 90mg; Total carbohydrate: 35g; Fiber: 4g; Sugars: 25g; Protein: 32g
Looking for an easy way to get more produce on your plate? Try these delicious plant-based swaps.
Published July 26, 2023