Eat Right Georgia

Delicious BBQ Fare, RD Approved!

Recently my family was invited to a cookout.  When I asked the host if I could bring anything, she replied, "a side dish would be perfect".  A friend standing nearby joked, "I am sure Kelly will bring something healthy".

That comment got me thinking, are expectations high or low when a dietitian is invited to bring food to a BBQ or potluck?  The thought, I have been told, is that a dietitian is likely to bring a plate of raw veggies, a fruit salad, or something bland and low calorie.  However, the opposite could be true. One might expect something amazing and delicious, straight from the pages of Cooking Light Magazine.


With that in mind, I decided to ask some Georgia Academy members what they might bring to BBQ.  Click here to check out these tried and true recipes from members whose recommendation I solicited.

And of course [as a dietitian] this blog would not complete with some important food safety reminders related to cooking and eating outdoors:

1.  Beware of the Danger Zone, the temperature range in which bacteria can grow faster.

  • Cold foods should be kept at or below 40 °F, in the refrigerator, in coolers, or in containers on ice.  Limit the time coolers are open and do not leave coolers in direct sunlight.

  • Keep foods served hot at or above 140 °F in chafing dishes, warming trays, slow cookers or on the grill. You can keep cooked meats hot by setting them to the side of the grill rack, not directly over the coals where they could overcook.

2.  Keep hands and surfaces clean with frequent washing.

3.  Avoid cross contamination.  Use a clean platter when taking meat off the grill.

4.  Remember, when in doubt, throw it out!

Using a food thermometer to check the safe recommended temperatures takes out the guess work and never leave food between 40 and 140°F for more than two hours. (*In temperatures above 90 °F, the recommendation is more than one hour)

Always use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of burgers, steaks, chicken, and foods containing meat or poultry.

  • Hamburgers, sausages and other ground meats should reach 160 °F.

  • All poultry should reach a minimum temperature of 165 °F.

  • Whole cuts of pork, lamb, veal, and of beef should be cooked to 145 °F as measured by a food thermometer placed in the thickest part of the meat, and allowed to rest for three minutes before eating.

  • Fish should be cooked to 145 °F.

Check out for more information.

-By Kelly Schriver, MS RDN LD



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