Remember to trim visible fat that could make the fire flare up and char food.
Some studies have revealed a possible cancer risk from eating foods cooked by high-heat methods such as grilling, frying or broiling. However, research shows no health risk from eating moderate amounts of grilled meat, fish and poultry cooked to a medium temperature without charring.
Have the grill grate hot before putting on hamburgers or steaks to sear them to retain juices; then cover to finish cooking on a lower heat. You may want to raise the grill cooking level to be sure the food is thoroughly cooked, but not charred.
Pink center is okay with a steak
Cooking ground beef is different from cooking steak. The center of a steak has not been exposed to contaminants so a pink center is OK. Of course, both sides of a steak should be thoroughly cooked.
Keep grilled meat hot until ready to serve by putting it to the side of the grill, but not directly over the coals or in an oven at 200 degrees. You also can use a chafing dish, or warming tray.
When you've finished eating cooked ground beef, immediately refrigerate leftovers.
Always wash all utensils, cutting boards, counters and plates or platter that came in contact with the raw meat during preparation and cooking. Never put cooked meat on a plate that previously held raw meat.
It's equally important to thoroughly cook poultry, pork and other meats on the grill.
Whole poultry should reach an internal temperature of 180 degrees and breasts, 170 degrees. Poultry flesh should not be pink and juices need to be clear. All pork cuts should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees. Beef, veal and lamb steaks, roasts and chops should reach 145 degrees.
Donna Clore is Boyle County extension agent for family and consumer sciences.