Knowing if a piece of meat is done or not can make or break a meal. There are numerous different schools of thought on if meat is done. Some say you can cook based on time, others say cut the meat and take a peak, and still others say touch it and firmer means more done. All of those may be true to an extent, but the absolute best way to tell if meat is done is with an instant read thermometer.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when using an instant read thermometer:
- The temperature of cooked beef will continue to rise as it rests. Remove beef from heat when the thermometer reads about 5-10°F lower than the desired doneness.
- Measure the temperature in the center or thickest part of the beef, not touching bone or fat.
- For thinner cuts of beef like steak, remove the steak from the heat source and insert the thermometer through the side into the center.
- If you’re concerned that your thermometer isn’t reading correctly, you can test it (and sometimes re-calibrate it) by putting the probe into a glass of ice cold water. It should read 32°F.
- The USDA recommends steaks and roasts be cooked to 145°F and then rest for at least 3 minutes. Ground beef should be cooked to a minimum 160°F.
|Rare||120°F||Cool, bright red center|
Soft to the touch
|Medium Rare||130°F||Warm red center|
Beginning to firm up with red juices
|Medium||135-145°F||Warm pink center; outer portions beginning to brown|
Completely firm to the touch with red juices
|Medium Well||145-155°F||Slightly pink center|
Completely firm to the touch with brown juices
|Well Done||155-160 °F||Very little or no pink or red|
Firm to touch
|Ground Beef||160 °F||Fully brown throughout with no pink|
Have a question about cooking your meat to perfection? Let us know!