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.

Cooking notes

*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

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Looking for an easy way to get more produce on your plate? Try these delicious plant-based swaps.

Published July 26, 2023

This recipe was originally published on on March 20, 2018.

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