Meat Temperatures

I highly recommend investing in a cooking thermometer.  I used to think using one made it look like I didn’t know how to cook.  I wanted to look professional, I didn’t need gadgets.  But after a few overcooked turkeys, I reconsidered.  Don’t make the same mistake I did.  I bought one and haven’t overcooked anything since.  It gives you the piece of mind knowing your meat is fully cooked, and you’ll have a perfectly moist pork chop, steak, or chicken dinner every time.

Why the Rest Time is Important

After you remove meat from a grill, oven, or other heat source, allow you meat to rest for 5-10 minutes depending on the cut of meat. During the rest time, its temperature remains constant or continues to rise, which destroys harmful germs.  By letting it rest the juices redistribute throughout the meat so when you cut into it the juice doesn’t run out and leave you with tough, dry meat.  It won’t get cold, don’t worry!

USDA Recommended Safe Minimum Internal Temperatures

  • Cook all raw beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks, chops, and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145 °F as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source. For safety and quality, allow meat to rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook meat to higher temperatures.
  • Cook all raw ground beef, pork, lamb, and veal to an internal temperature of 160 °F as measured with a food thermometer.
  • Cook all poultry to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F as measured with a food thermometer.
Term (French) Description    Temperature range     USDA recommended
Extra-rare or Blue (bleu) very red and cold    46–49 °C 115–120 °F
Rare (saignant) cold red center; soft    52–55 °C 125–130 °F
Medium rare (à point) warm red center; firmer    55–60 °C 130–140 °F     145 °F
Medium (demi-anglais) pink and firm    60–65 °C 140–150 °F     160 °F
Medium well (cuit) small amount of pink in the center    65–69 °C 150–155 °F
Well done (bien cuit) gray-brown throughout; firm    71–100 °C 160–212 °F     170 °F
Overcooked blacken throughout; crispy    >100 °C >212 °F      >220 °F


Here are some more precise meat temperatures for specific cuts of meat:

Tri Tip internal temperature of 125-135°F

Here are some affordable thermometers on Amazon:

Taylor Classic Instant Read Pocket Thermometer

Taylor’s Commercial Waterproof Digital Thermometer

Weber Style 6438 Professional-Grade Barbecue Beeper Digital Thermometer

CDN DTQ450X ProAccurate Quick-Read Thermometer

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