UACES Facebook Grilling Tips for Memorial Day Celebrations!
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Grilling Tips for Memorial Day Celebrations!

Safety Tips for Grilling on the Holidays.

Nashville, Ark. – This weekend is the official kickoff of summer and that means those backyard grills will be firing up. Nothing is better than eating a big juicy steak or hamburger right off the grill while enjoying the company of family and friends. Covid restrictions are lifting and we want our guests to enjoy the food, fellowship and fun. While we may not worry about contracting Covid, we don’t want anyone to end up sick after the celebration because we failed to follow proper food safety guidelines.

What is the proper way to keep my food safe before grilling?

            Food safety begins with shopping and getting the food home safely. Buy cold food like meat and poultry last, right before checkout. Separate raw meat and poultry from other food in your shopping cart. To guard against cross-contamination, which can happen when raw meat or poultry juices drip on other food, have the grocery sacker put your meats in a plastic bag by themselves. Separate meats by type. For example, sack your poultry in one sack and place beef in a different grocery bag. Never put fresh produce with raw meats in the same grocery bag.

            Plan to drive directly home from the grocery store. You may want to take a cooler with ice for perishables, especially if it takes you some time to get home. Always refrigerate perishable food within 1 hour when the temperature is above 90˚F. Otherwise, they should be refrigerated within 2 hours.

            Marinated meats will enrich the food’s flavor and tenderize it as well. It is important to remember to marinate food in the refrigerator, not on the counter. If some of the marinade is to be used as a sauce on the cooked food, reserve a portion of the marinade before putting raw meat and poultry in it. Discard any marinade that has touched meat, once you put the meat on the grill.

            As cookout time nears, remember to keep your meat and poultry refrigerated until ready to use. Only take out the meat and poultry that will immediately be placed on the grill. Keep the rest in the refrigerator until needed.

            As you prepare the meal for your friends and family remember to keep everything clean. Be sure there are plenty of clean utensils and platters. Never use the same platter and utensils for raw and cooked meat and poultry. Harmful bacteria present in raw meat and poultry and their juices can contaminate safely cooked food.

Grilling Tips

            Grill food to a safe minimum internal temperature to destroy harmful bacteria. Meat and poultry cooked on a grill often browns very fast on the outside. Use a food thermometer to be sure the food has reached a safe minimum internal temperature. Beef, veal, and lamb steaks, roasts, chops, and seafood can be cooked to 145˚F. Hamburgers made of ground beef should reach 155˚F. All poultry should reach a minimum of 165˚F. The latest recommendation for pork is 145˚F except for ground pork which should reach an internal temperature of 160˚.

            As you add fully cooked meats to the grill such as hot dogs or sausage links, grill them to 165˚F or until steaming hot. Eating hot dogs right out of the package poses a severe health risk; therefore, it is very important to never give a child an under cooked hot dog.

            Remember that kabobs of meat, vegetables or even fruit, are great for grilling. To grill kabobs cut meats and veggies to the same size. One to one and one-half inch cubes work well.

            Next, group foods with similar cooking times together. Denser foods such as bell peppers and chicken will cook at about the same time, however if you add cherry tomatoes they may turn to mush, or even worse, slide off the skewer by the time the chicken is done.

            If you do not have a food thermometer, they can be purchased inexpensively at discount stores, kitchen supply stores, and supermarkets. If you would like to receive a chart with appropriate cooking temperatures for most foods, please contact me at the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service in Howard County located on the second floor of the courthouse or call me at 870-845-7517 or e-mail me at I wish you all a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend!

           Here is a great recipe to try this Memorial Day weekend. It takes about 30 minutes to prepare and tastes delicious! This recipe was shared by the Beef Council. If you would like more beef recipes you can visit their website at or contact me at the Extension Office and I will be glad to give you a free grilling brochure from the Beef Council.

Classic Beef Kabobs Recipe

  • 1 pound beef sirloin cut 1-inch thick

  • 8 ounces mushrooms

  • 1 medium red, yellow, or green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • Salt

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

  1. Cut beef sirloin steak into 1-inch pieces. Combine seasoning ingredients in large bowl. Add beef, mushrooms, bell pepper pieces and onion pieces; toss to coat. 

  2. Alternately thread beef and vegetable pieces evenly onto eight 12-inch metal skewers. Leaving small spaces between pieces. 

  3. Place kabobs on grill over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill kabobs, covered, 8 to 10 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, 9 to 11 minutes) for medium rare (145⁰F) to medium (160⁰F) doneness, turning once. Season kabobs with salt, as desired. Yield: 4 servings
    Spread cream cheese evenly over tortilla.

Nutrition Information per Serving: 252 calories, 12 g. fat, 61 mg sodium, 8 g carbohydrates, 1.6 g fiber, 28 g protein

Tips: *You can use bamboo skewers in place of the metal skewers. Soak bamboo skewers in water 10 minutes before using; drain.

*Leaving a small space between the meat and vegetables on the skewers will allow the beef to 

By Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Jean Ince/counties/howard/news/fcs/may-2021
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852
(870) 845-7517


The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

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