10 Food Safety Tips for Outdoor Eating and Barbecues

10 Food Safety Tips for Outdoor Eating and Barbecues | thegoodstuff

Pack your picnic basket and get your grill fired up for a summer of outdoor eating!

Picnics, barbecues, and potlucks are all great ways to enjoy the summer weather, but bringing food outside can also bring on bouts of food poisoning if you’re not careful.

Wondering how to keep your food safe? Here are a few simple standards to help you decide what to serve, how to store it keep it, and whether or not it’s still safe to eat:


  • Pack all foods in a cooler loaded with plenty of ice. Aim to keep your cooler at 40 degrees F or less, for the safest storage.
  • Pack all foods in separate airtight containers. Double bag raw meats to avoid cross-contamination while sitting in the cooler with other ready-to-eat foods.
  • If temps soar above 90 degrees, perishable food should only be left out for an hour. If it’s cooler, 2 hours is the max time food should be left out.


  • Raw meat and dairy are both big culprits of spoilage, so keep those in the cooler until ready to use.
  • Keep raw meat, poultry, seafood, and/or eggs separate from ready-to-eat foods. Store them in separate airtight containers until ready to cook.
  • Pack moist towelettes, hand sanitizer, or soap and water so you can wash your hands and avoid cross-contamination.
  • Always marinate your meat in the fridge, and never reuse the marinade on raw meat (unless you’ve boiled it).


  • Tote along a small digital food thermometer to you can ensure meat has been cooked properly. Beef should be cooked to 160 degrees F and chicken to 165 degrees F.


  • Melted ice is a sign of low temperatures. Never reuse the ice from your cooler. And always toss leftovers that have been sitting in melted ice for more than a hour.
  • Clean your cooler with bleach cleaner, wiping it completely dry before storing again. This will keep your cooler smelling fresh, and can also keep it from growing mold before you use it again.


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