Food Safety

Dear Never Cook Naked Guys: How long can grilled meat sit out safely at room temperature before I run the risk of getting myself—or my family and friends–sick?—Nervous for Good Reason


Dear Nervous: Food safety is really important because…

1. Even your BFFs will sue if you make them sick.

2. You probably have more people at your table than you have toilets.

When both the lawyers and the numbers aren’t in your favor, follow this basic guideline: Properly cooked meat can be left at room temperature for no more than two hours. And note that you need to make that just one hour if the room temperature is above 90°F (32°C)—as well as consider moving somewhere cooler, because that’s just insane.

So if the BFFs are coming over this Saturday, here’s what you do: keep the raw meat in the fridge until you’re ready to cook it. If you’re grilling at a public park, keep the meat on ice in a covered cooler in the shade, and be certain to shove a thermometer in that cooler; as long as it registers 40°F (4°C) or lower in there, you’re still in the safety zone. (So many rules, so much bacteria.) Grill only as much meat as everyone can eat at one time. Then fire up the grill every hour or so until your guests have run out of belt notches. Or lawyers.

Our very clever, very clothed Never Cook Naked columnists are at your disposal, able to troubleshoot everything from questionable table etiquette to tricky cooking techniques (as well as, natch, proper cooking attire). Ask us your question in a comment below!

Originally published July 19, 2012.

About Bruce Weinstein | Mark Scarbrough

Bruce and Mark are award-winning, international best-selling cookbook authors with thirty-six published cookbooks and over 1,000,000 copies of their books in print. Bruce and Mark have published on topics as diverse as ice cream, ham, barbecue, goat, and vegetarian main courses. They are masters of the air fryer with The Essential Air Fryer Cookbook (2019), and The Instant Pot with The Instant Bible (2018) and The Instant Pot Bible: The Next Generation (2020).
Their You-Tube channel Cooking with Bruce and Mark offers hours of delicious fun and their podcast Cooking with Bruce and Mark reaches 10s of thousands with their culinary antics.
When they are not in the kitchen, Mark teaches lit classes and runs book groups throughout Litchfield County and online while Bruce teaches knitting and designs knitted patterns for both men and women. Find out more about what they’re up to at

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