Update for 2017: We have had feedback over the years on this meat temperature chart article from people saying their meat was overcooked. There is a safety factor here, so I still want people to follow the chart. However in practice, I try to remove the meat from the grill once the internal temperature is within 5 degrees of my target doneness temperature. Again, follow the chart if you are paranoid but always aim on the lower side if you are paranoid about overcooking.
When first starting out cooking on a grill, I soon realized I needed an easy meat temperature chart and a good digital thermometer within reach. I had talked to all of these experts about how to push on meat and tell whether it was done or not, but I couldn’t shake the fear of giving my friends and family food poisoning because I didn’t “feel” that chicken breast correctly. With an instant-read meat thermometer and an easy to access chart showing the correct meat temperatures, there really is no excuse for under (or over) cooking meat. If you don’t yet have one, check out our Thermapen review for what we think is the last thermometer you will ever need for cooking.
Easy Meat Temperature Chart
As for the “easy to access temperature chart” part of the equation, I put my software development skills to work. What do I always have in my pocket? My iPhone! I created a really simple app to allow me to quickly look up meat temperatures. The link to the app is at the bottom of this article if you are interested. If you are in a hurry (quick, that steak is burning!) check out this handy chart:
|Meat Temperatures Chart
|Beef and Lamb
|Medium-Rare: 130º to 140ºF
|Medium: 140º to 155ºF
|Medium-Well: 155º to 165ºF
|Well: 170ºF and up
|Medium: 145º to 155ºF
|Pork (like grilled pork chops or grilled pork tenderloin)
|Medium: 140º to 155ºF
|Medium-well: 155º to 165ºF
|Well-Done: 175º to 185ºF
|Grilled Chicken and Turkey
|Dark meat (thigh, leg): 170º to 175ºF
|White meat (breast, wing): 160º to 165ºF
Don’t Cut Into The Meat to Check The Temperature
Before you go check on that steak, let me cover one more quick tip. No matter what you do, NEVER cut into the meat on the grill to check doneness. Not only are you killing your presenation, but you run the risk of drying out the meat. Practice makes perfect, so head on over to our grilled steak recipes or any of our other simple grilled recipes and just err on the side of rare until you get it right. You can always throw the meat back on the grill, but you can’t reverse overcooking.
Got an iPhone or iPod? Click here to visit our FREE meat doneness temperature app on the app store!