BBQ Food Safety Tips & Temperatures to Ensure No One Gets a Stomach Bug!

BBQ Food Safety

It’s summertime! This means the cabin is now open, the pool or lake is just the right temperature for the kiddos to jump in, and the invitations go out to friends and family for the next BBQ. But as you fire up the grill you will want to make sure that your thermometer is all set to keep your guests safe this summer.

Firing up the grill? You’ll want to make sure grilled meats are at a safe temperature for serving. If something hasn’t been cooked thoroughly enough, you can contract foodborne illness. The chart below will show you the different internal temperatures that you will be looking for to ensure BBQ food safety & that everything is ready to serve.

Category Food Temperature (°F) 
Ground Meat & Meat Mixtures Beef, Pork, Veal, Lamb 160
Turkey, Chicken 165
Fresh Beef, Veal, Lamb Steaks, roasts, chops 145
Poultry Chicken & Turkey, whole 165
Poultry breasts, roasts 165
Poultry thighs, legs, wings 165
Pork and Ham Fresh pork 145
Fresh ham (raw) 145

This chart is from

Hot foods aren’t the only ones you’ll want to check. Cold foods need to stay below a certain temperature, too! For any col dishes like pasta salads, fruit and veggie trays, and others, it’s important to stay at or below 40°F. Anything within the 40-140°F range is considered the “temperature danger zone” where bacteria thrive and can make you sick more easily. If you don’t have a food thermometer, you can order one here before your next picnic!


So the table is set, the main course is ready, and the side dishes are ready to be served! So we’re in the clear, right? Not quite yet. When serving food outdoors, we want to remember that…

  1. Perishable food should not sit out for more than two hours. In hot weather (above 90°F, which will be every day this summer in Arizona), food should NEVER sit out for more than one hour. If your family or guests have moved on from the cold dishes, bring those items back inside to refrigerate.
  2. Serve cold foods in small portions, and keep the rest in the cooler or refrigerator. To help the foods that are out stay cooler for longer, place the serving dish in a bowl or tray of ice. Don’t forget to check the temperature — cold foods shouldn’t go above 40°F!
  3. Refrigerating your serving plates and keeping food in the shade can help. If your platters are cold, it will help keep foods cold for a little while longer (just like how foods served on a hot plate will stay hot for longer!). Keeping foods in the shade will also reduce the amount of direct heat from the sun it gets, and buy it a little more temperature-safe time, too.

If you’re feeling nervous about cold foods getting too warm outside, try serving them indoors instead. A buffet line set up in the kitchen might even help to make cleanup easier!

Products We Love

In need of some products to help make your picnic a healthy success? Here are a few we LOVE:

CLICK HERE for a digital food thermometer. It’s a necessity if you don’t already have one!


Remember these tips for your next backyard get-together so that everyone goes home happy and healthy. We hope you enjoy your summer holiday fun!


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