Practice Safe BBQ – Outdoor Food Safety Tips

BBQ food safety

Happy Memorial Day – the unofficial kick-off to summer! Being a resident of the Jersey Shore, we get more excited for this time of year than the holidays.  Sitting on the beach, dining al fresco, and waterfront happy hours listening to some guy play a guitar are just a few of our favorite things.  And if you’re like me and Mr. E, there’s probably a BBQ or 3 you’ll be hitting up over the next week.  Read on for some food safety tips for keeping your BBQ (and guests!) safe this MDW.

Whether you’re hosting or being a good guest and bringing a dish, safe food handling and cooking will make or break the party.  Nobody wants to be known as the person who got everyone sick!  Follow these tips so you don’t invite BAC to your backyward BBQ.

food safety



Food Safety | BBQ Grilling Tips | Nutrition Nuptials | Mandy Enright MS RDN RYT |

Packing & Transporting Food

  • Cold food should be cold (<40ºF) using coolers and ice packs..
  • Use separate coolers for food and beverages. Not only will this keep beverages from becoming contaminated in case of a leakage, but it keeps food cold by limiting how many times the cooler is opened.
  • Pack and separate foods that will be cooked versus foods to be eaten raw.  Reinforce with plastic baggies to keep all foods safe.  Double bagging is a good thing in this situation!
  • Clean all produce.  Create your own fruit and veggie wash by mixing 2 cups cold water, 1/4 cup white vinegar, and 2TB lemon juice in a spray bottle.  Spray on to food, let rest 2-3 minutes, then rinse.

Food Safety | BBQ Grilling Tips | Nutrition Nuptials | Mandy Enright MS RDN RYT |

Setting the Table

  • Keep handy wipes or “soapy water” nearby to wipe off hands- the cook will appreciate this!
  • Bleach wipes are also good to keep near to give cooking utensils a quick wipe down between uses
  • Place the table in a shaded area, if possible, to keep food out of direct sunlight.

Food Safety | BBQ Grilling Tips | Nutrition Nuptials | Mandy Enright MS RDN RYT |

Be a Safe Grillmaster

  • Marinate foods in the fridge- never leave sitting out on a counter or outdoors.  I also will reserve a portion of marinade in a separate container if I plan to brush on while cooking or serve as a sauce. NEVER reuse marinade that has been in contact with raw meat!
  • Keep trays separate that will hold raw food versus cooked food.  I
    love disposable foil trays to hold my raw food because they get chucked immediately once food is placed on the grill.
  • Avoid cross-contamination between utensils, surface areas, and raw meats touching cooked foods or raw fruits or veggies.
  • Use a thermometer and cook to the appropriate cooking temps.

food safety

Stay Out of the Danger Zone

  • Foods kept between 40ºF-140ºF are in the “Danger Zone” if left for more than 2 hours (or 1 hour if the outside temp is ≥90ºF). Bacteria loves to grow in the heat!
  • Keep cold foods ≤40ºF, and don’t let sit out for longer than 2 hours. Keep cold foods in the shade and/or on ice.  I like to take a deep foil pan, fill it will ice and a little water, and then put another foil tray snugly on top.
  • Hot food should be kept ≥140ºF and not left out longer than 2 hours.
  • Keep food covered when possible.  You never know what will land on your food when outdoors.  Just think about all the different places flies land on before they come to your food- ew!


Food Safety | BBQ Grilling Tips | Nutrition Nuptials | Mandy Enright MS RDN RYT |

Recommendations- Food Safety Edition



Looking for items you should have at your next BBQ?  Invite these items and the only people you need to worry about getting sick are those who have too much sangria 😉


For more info on food safety, keep this handy Food Temp Guide on your fridge and check out the Food Safe Summer guide below.

Safe Food Summer

Click to view larger image

How do you keep your food safe at BBQs?  

Sound off in the Comments below!

What are you serving at your BBQ this weekend?  Share your pics using #Foodandmovement 



Food Safety | BBQ Grilling Tips | Nutrition Nuptials | Mandy Enright MS RDN RYT | Pinterest

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