How to Avoid Salmonella When Cooking on a Grill or BBQ?

Avoid Salmonella on the BBQ

Salmonella (also known as salmonellosis) is a virus caused by Salmonella bacteria that causes diarrhea, fever, and stomach discomfort. It is the most frequent type of bacterial food poisoning in the United States.

A Salmonella infection indicates that enough germs have passed your stomach acid and immune system to make you sick. Salmonella bacteria infiltrate and kill the cells lining your intestines.

This makes it difficult for your body to absorb water, resulting in stomach cramps. The water exits your body through diarrhea.

How Can You Get Salmonella from BBQ?

Salmonella infections can occur from various meals, including vegetables, poultry, and processed foods. Contaminated foods generally appear and smell normal, so it is critical to understand how to avoid the infection.

Salmonella infections are more likely in the summer. Warmer weather and unrefrigerated foods foster the growth of Salmonella.

“So, while it is summer and you are considering hosting a BBQ, you should keep reading.”

When done incorrectly, grilling food might result in food poisoning. The food poisoning is often mild, with most patients recovering within a week. However, it can sometimes be more severe, even fatal. Thus, it is critical to prevent salmonella infection.

Undercooked meat and transferring germs from raw meat onto ready-to-eat food are the two major risk factors for food poisoning when grilling.

“Salmonella, E. coli, campylobacter, and listeria are among the microorganisms that can cause food poisoning in raw or undercooked meat.”

Let’s cover how to avoid Salmonella, especially when cooking on a grill or BBQ.

How to Avoid Salmonella When Cooking on a Grill or BBQ?

To grill safely, here’s how to handle raw meat, chicken, or seafood:

  • Separate it from the rest of the food.
  • You should chill the raw meat or seafood in the refrigerator before grilling.
  • Wash and ensure your hands are clean before and after touching the raw meat would be best.
  • Please ensure that its juices do not spill on other foods, utensils, or surfaces.
  • Use a food thermometer to verify that it is cooked to a safe temperature.
  • Keep leftovers in the refrigerator within 2 hours of cooking.

To begin the process of grilling safely, here are steps to follow:

Separate The Meat While Shopping

  • Buy the meat, chicken, fish, or seafood last just before checkout. 
  • Also, keep them separate from other goods in your shopping cart and grocery bags. Place raw meat and poultry products in individual plastic bags to prevent cross-contamination.


  • Refrigerate meat, poultry, and fish until ready to grill. The meat should be in an insulated cooler if it is not in a refrigerator. Keep the temperature at 40°F.

Marinate & Thaw

  • At room temperature, harmful microorganisms can grow very quickly. Thus, you can safely defrost the food in the refrigerator or microwave instead of the kitchen counter.
  • Regardless of the marinade, always marinate food in the refrigerator. Do not defrost or leave the meat to marinate on the counter.

Clean Your Hands & Surfaces

  • Before and after touching raw meat, poultry, and seafood, wash your hands with soap.
  • Before and after cooking, clean the work surfaces, utensils, and grill.

Related read: BBQ knives you need.

Examine Your Grill and Tools

  • Clean the grill surface with a damp cloth or paper towel before cooking.
  • Before cooking, thoroughly check the grill’s surface using a grill wire bristle brush because the cleaning brush wire bristles may have been dislodged and will stick to food on the grill.

Avoid cross-contamination.

Cross-contamination is when you move germs from raw meat with your hands to whatever else you touch.

  • Remove marinades and sauces you have put together with raw meat or juices, which can spread germs to cooked dishes.
  • Use clean tools and a clean container to take cooked meat from the grill.


  • Use a quality food thermometer to guarantee that meat is cooked hot enough to destroy hazardous germs. When smoking, keep the temperature inside the smoker between 225°F and 300°F to keep the meat safe while it cooks.


  • Divide leftovers into small amounts and store them in shallow, covered containers. Then place in freezer or refrigerator within 2 hours of cooking (an hour if the temperature outdoors is above 90°F).
stop salmonella

Bottom Line: How to Safely Barbeque

Make sure your grill stands without support on a level surface, away from plants and trees.

Cover the bottom of your BBQ with coal up to a depth of 2 inches (5cm). Only use starter fuel or approved charcoal starter or electric charcoal lighters, and only on cold coals.

If you have a gas grill, ensure it is properly serviced and maintained, including regular pressure testing of gas cylinders and inspecting the integrity of hoses and connections.
Before igniting a gas barbeque, inspect the cylinder for rust or damage and make sure all connections are securely fastened.

Eddie van Aken

Eddie van Aken has years of experience in running his full-service restaurant and with this came working with using and dealing with all types of kitchen equipment. With his experience, he can find all the pros and cons of grills and add them to the grill reviews and the outdoor cooking tips he is writing about. You can read more on the About page for Eddie van Aken

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