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Cooking Q&A: How do I tell when meat is done?

Q.

At what temperature is meat “done”?

A.

The proper temperature not only depends on the type of meat, it’s also a matter of personal preference. Do you like your steak still mooing, or completely cooked through? The USDA does have recommended guidelines for the minimum internal temperature meat must be cooked to in order to kill harmful bacteria. However, the internal temperature in meat will continue to rise by as much as 10 degrees after it has been removed from the oven, grill, or burner. Remove meat when it is within 5 to 10 degrees of your preferred doneness to keep it from overcooking.

To check the temperature, insert a digital instant-read thermometer, like the CDN ProAccurate Quick Tip Digital Cooking Thermometer DTQ450 ($18), into the thickest part of the meat. In poultry, it’s the inner thigh area near the breast, but not touching the bone. In steaks, roasts, and chops, it’s the center or thickest area away from bone and fat.

Ground Meat
Beef, pork, veal, lamb 160°
Turkey, chicken 165°

Fresh Beef, Veal, Lamb
Medium-rare 145°
Medium 160°
Well-done 170°

Poultry
Chicken and turkey, whole 165°
Poultry breasts, roast 165°
Poultry thighs, wings 165°
Duck and goose 165°

Fresh Pork
Medium 160°
Well-done 170°
Ham 160°

Fish 145°

-- Colleen Rush

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