JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

July 4th is a time to fire up the grill. The chefs at Sticky Fingers say safety is essential when grilling up your favorite foods.

Here are tips Sticky Fingers gave Wednesday on The Morning Show, including prep tips, grilling tips and clean-up tips.

Prep Tips

  • Put food away quickly after grocery shopping. Never leave food in a hot car or trunk.
  • Thaw frozen foods in fridge or use a microwave and cook immediately. Never defrost at room temperature.
  • Marinate meats in fridge, not at room temperature. Use sealed plastic bags or a glass dish with cover, and don’t reuse a marinade. Any liquid that has touched uncooked meat must be brought to a boil before serving.
  • Rubs or marinades make grilling easy.
  • Don't cross-contaminate. Wash hands often. Keep counters and work surfaces clean. Use separate, clean plates and utensils for raw, cooked, and ready-to-eat foods.

Grilling Tips

  • Make sure grills are at least three feet away from the sides of houses and any overhangs.
  • Use long-handled barbecue utensils to avoid burns and splatters.
  • Cook meat thoroughly. Check internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer. Don't rely on color to determine if it’s ready to eat.

Clean-up Tips

  • Put leftovers in fridge or freezer within two hours of cooking.
  • Use baking soda to control a grease fire. Keep a fire extinguisher handy just in case.