Grill Safety

Buying Meat

  • Never buy meat in a package that is torn, and never buy meat that doesn't feel cold.
  • Place meat in a plastic bag so that leaking juices won't drop on to other foods.
  • Make sure to buy fresh meat last, and to separate it from ready-cooked items in your cart.
  • Have the cashier bag raw meat separately from other items, and drive directly home so that you can refrigerate the meats immediately.

Storing Meat

  • Always refrigerate or freeze fresh meats and poultry to preserve freshness and slow the growth of bacteria.
  • If refrigerated, be sure it's at 40 degrees or lower.
  • Use ground meats and poultry within 1-2 days, a d used beef, veal, pork and lamb steaks, roasts, and chops within 5 days.
  • For freezer storage, wrap the meat in heavy duty plastic wrap, aluminum foil, freezer paper, or plastic bags made for freezing.
  • Meat and poultry will be safe for as long as you want as long as they're kept frozen at below 0 degrees. However, they will lose quality over time.
  • Never leave raw meat, poultry, or any perishable food out at room temperature for more than two hours.
  • See the chart below for proper storage times.

Safely Cooking Meat

  • Color of meat and poultry is not a good indicator of safety- always use a food thermometer.
  • Never partially grill meat or poultry and finish cooking later.
  • After cooking meat and poultry on the grill, keep it hot (140 degrees or higher) until serving. Accomplish this by leaving them on the side of the grill rack, but not over the coals where they could overcook. If you are at home, you can put them in an oven at 200 degrees, in a chafing dish or slow cooker, or on a warming tray.

Serving Meat Safely

  • Be sure to use a clean plate for cooked meat- not the plate that raw meat touched. Otherwise harmful bacteria can contaminate your meat.

Leftover Meat

  • If you refrigerate within two hours after cooking, meats can be refrigerated for about three or four days.
  • If you freeze them, they should keep good quality for about four months.

For More Information: FoodSafety

(40 °F or below)
(0 °F or below)
SaladsEgg, chicken, ham, tuna & macaroni salads3 to 5 daysDoes not freeze well
Hot dogsopened package1 week1 to 2 months
unopened package2 weeks1 to 2 months
Luncheon meatopened package or deli sliced3 to 5 days1 to 2 months
unopened package2 weeks1 to 2 months
Bacon & SausageBacon7 days1 month
Sausage, raw — from chicken, turkey, pork, beef1 to 2 days1 to 2 months
Hamburger & Other Ground MeatsHamburger, ground beef, turkey, veal, pork, lamb, & mixtures of them1 to 2 days3 to 4 months
Fresh Beef, Veal, Lamb & PorkSteaks3 to 5 days6 to 12 months
Chops3 to 5 days4 to 6 months
Roasts3 to 5 days4 to 12 months
Fresh PoultryChicken or turkey, whole1 to 2 days1 year
Chicken or turkey, pieces1 to 2 days9 months
Soups & StewsVegetable or meat added3 to 4 days2 to 3 months
LeftoversCooked meat or poultry3 to 4 days2 to 6 months
Chicken nuggets or patties3 to 4 days1 to 3 months
Pizza3 to 4 days1 to 2 months