YONKERS - One of the perks of summer is grilling outdoors, but a safe and healthy summer cookout begins long before the meat hits the flames.

News 12's Kristina Cartwright has some key reminders before you fire up that grill.

Cartwright recommends you want to choose cuts of meat that aren't too thick because grilling will often char the outside of your cut of meat, but won't properly cook the inside. Cooking for a longer time and at a lower temperature will also help cook your food thoroughly without burning.

Part of any healthy griller’s tool kit should be a good meat thermometer to make sure it is cooked all the way through.

Steak and fish should be cooked to a temperature of 145 degrees, ground beef and pork to 160 degrees, and chicken and other poultry to 165 degrees.

Cooks should make sure they have a clean grill. A wire brush and a paper towel moistened in salt water, should remove most residue.

Also avoid using the plate you bring your meat to the grill with as a serving plate because the bacteria from the raw meat juices can get on to the food and then make people sick.