Is your barbecue grill making you ill? Could be. Who knows. This handy chart by the FDA, CDC, Mayo Clinic, and International Food Council will tell you at what temperatures one should prepare their meats on the grill in order to prevent foodborne illness. Sure, some might disagree with the suggestions here. (We prefer our steaks barely introduced to the patio grill from the other side of the street. Rare is the only way to go.) But it's pretty good for those who don't abide by artisan law, or are unsure from where their meat came.

Here are some other less frightening suggestions for throwing your own BBQ fete this summer:

  • Never use lean ground beef. Or pre-made patties.
  • Do not start spraying lighter fluid after more than two cocktails -- ask a more sober friend to light the grill. We're not kidding.
  • Please keep 2:1 ratio of beer to (white) wine. A lack of dry wine makes for unhappy blog editors.
  • Classic barbecue sauce is only a suggestion, not a requirement.
  • Please keep soft blankets at the ready. We enjoy sitting on the grass, but not on the grass. While we're at it, a colorful selection of parasols make for a lovely melanoma-free afternoon.
  • Thighs and legs > breasts
  • New Edition or En Vogue are ideal Pandora stations for barbecue under the sun. Dunno why. They just are.
  • Clean your grill before using.
  • Stop moving the meat around constantly like your dad did. Let it sit on the grill for a bit. Also, never press on your patties. The juice will run out and you will have dry burgers... and a dry frowny face.
  • Got any weed?
  • Screw it. Grilling, like math, is hard. Grab some ribs from Pican instead. Or, better yet, get some meat from B-Side BBQ in Oakland, care of chef Tanya Holland. She's a wizard when it comes to the art of barbecue.

Happy grilling, people!