(WFXR) — Memorial Day is getting closer and soon many across the country are going to be firing up the grill to enjoy hot dogs, burgers, shish kebabs, and more. But, as many Americans substitute beef for turkey and plant-based options, it is important to be aware of the temperature requirements to safely cook your alternatives.

Melissa Wright, the Director of the Food Producer Technical Assistance Program in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Department of Food Science and Technology at Virginia Tech, says when cooking burger alternatives, you must keep in mind the correct internal temperatures. She says beef alternatives are much leaner and are easy to overcook.

To avoid having rubbery or dry meat at your Memorial Day feast, she shared a few tips to make sure your meat is perfectly done.

Wright says, if you choose to cook the classic ground beef burger, it should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F or 71°C. Wright says the appropriate cooking temperatures for other popular burgers include the following:

  • Ground chicken or turkey – 165°F (74°C)
  • ImpossibleTM burgers (soy protein) – 160°F (71°C), according to product packaging
  • Morningstar Farms® burgers (chickpea protein) – 165°F (74°C), according to product packaging
  • Black bean burgers – 165°F (74°C)
  • Ground salmon – 145°F (63°C)
  • Ground bison – 160°F (71°C)
  • Ground elk – 145°F (63°C)

Additionally, Wright advises that all Memorial Day chefs use the browning on their meats as a way to know if the food is close to being done, and remember to separate cutting boards and utensils for produce and meat.

If you are going to have ready-to-eat options for your guests, Wright says they do not have to meet a minimum internal temperature requirement.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises people to follow these steps to grill safely.

  1. Separate – Make sure to separate your meat, poultry, and seafood to avoid cross-contamination. You can do this by using ziplock bags, or individual plastic bags.
  2. Chill- Keep your meat and seafood refrigerated until it is ready to grill. Keep the temperature at 40°F or below during transportation.
  3. Thaw & Marinate- Thaw your food in cold water or a microwave. While your meat marinates, keep it in the refrigerator.
  4. Clean- Wash your hands with hot soapy water before and water handling raw meat. Wash your work surfaces and utensils before and after cooking.
  5. Check your grill and tools- Use a moist cloth or paper towel to clean your grill before cooking your meats and food.
  6. Cook your meat to the recommended temperatures listed above.
  7. Refrigerate- Separate your leftovers and cover them before putting them in the fridge. This can be done by using small containers.

For more information on grilling safety tips, visit the CDC’s website.