Meat Doneness Chart

September 14, 2012 17 Comments

Meat Doneness Chart

Do You Know When Your Meat Is Medium-Rare?

It is essential you know the internal temperatures of the foods you are cooking. Trying to cook based on times given in a recipe is a mistake that I make all the time. There are so many variables that go into cooking times that it is impossible to know when a piece of meat is ready to come off the saute pan, grill or out of the oven. The biggest mistake most home cooks make is not to account for resting time. Heck, most of us don’t even realize they need to let meat or poultry rest for a period of time so the juices redistribute into the meat. Professional chefs have told me they know when something is done just by touching it, but they still carry and rely on their instant thermometers. Cooking anything to perfection requires knowing when it reaches the ideal internal temperature before and after resting. These temperature are a good guide but if you find your prefer your medium-rare steak a little more done, adjust the temps to suit your personal tastes.

Meat Temperatures & Doneness Chart

The “Remove” temperature on the left is the target temperature to remove from heat source. The “Ideal” temperature on the right is the ideal internal temperature after resting. These temperatures are all Fahrenheit. Note, these are not USDA Recommendations. The USDA temperatures are conservatively 10º – 15º higher because of food safety but not many professional chefs are cooking your medium-rare steak to 150º F. You would send it back in an instant.

Rare
Medium-Rare
Medium
Medium-Well
Remove
Ideal
Remove
Ideal
Remove
Ideal
Remove
Ideal
Beef Steaks
125º
130º
130º
135º
140º
145º
155º
160º
Beef Roasts
120º
130º
125º
130º
135º
145º
150º
160º
Lamb Chop
125º
130º
130º
135º
140º
145º
155º
160º
Lamb Roast
120º
130º
125º
130º
135º
145º
150º
160º
Pork Chops
-
-
-
-
140º
145º
155º
160º
Pork Roasts
-
-
-
-
135º
145º
150º
160º
Veal Chops
-
-
130º
135º
140º
145º
155º
160º
Veal Roasts
-
-
125º
130º
135º
145º
150º
160º
  Resting Time
Remove
Ideal Internal Temperature
Whole Chicken – Roasted
5 minutes
160º – 165º
165º – 170º
Whole Turkey – Roasted*
20 – 60 minutes
150º – 170º
165º – 170º

* A big turkey can take 60 minutes of resting with a temperature shift of 20º or more.

Last modified on Mon 7 April 2014 10:23 am

Filed in: Tips and Facts

Comments (17)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

Sites That Link to this Post

  1. Sauce Sauce Sauce | valscuttingboard | January 22, 2014
  2. 5 Tips for Perfect Roasts | FSW@Home | March 18, 2014
  1. Saucier Du Fer says:

    I see the recommended “Resting Time” for the birds, but, I’m looking for the resting time for a beef roast. Where is THAT!??

    “THAT” is another great article suggestion but as a rule of thumb, five minutes of resting time per inch of steak thickness or ten minutes per pound of a beef roast. – RG

  2. Sarah says:

    Where it says ‘Beef Roasts’ – under Beef Steaks.

  3. Russell Grey says:

    Thank you for this article!

    There are so many different guides to doneness out there, but very few (none that I’ve come across) really take into consideration resting. The ones that do only give some vague guidelines (ie, take it out before) without giving any specific ideas. I realize that it’s a bit of an art, but this is very helpful.

  4. Mark says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I’m convinced this is the best way to determine when your meat is done just right.

  5. Cathy says:

    No professional chef I’ve ever met would use a instant thermometer the moment you pierce the meat after it has started to cook it starts to toughen & it looses some of the juices this would happen normally through cooking but with the meat pierced it happens at a greater rate. The longer it continues to cook like this after you have pierced it the tougher & dryer it gets at a faster pace then normal. It’s a cardinal sin almost as bad as cutting the steak with a knife to see how it’s done.

    Touch is the only way period if you want best results.

  6. Perry says:

    The “top chefs would never pierce the meat” theory is pretty outdated, regardless of if professional chefs still do it or not. A number of sites and chefs have scientifically proven it to be pure myth that the meat loses any significant or detectable, amount of juices or tenderness from piercing. The best analogy was that because of the structure of meat, piercing to check temp is like popping 2 or 3 water balloons out of 100′s. You aren’t going to notice that water missing.

    Great chart, very helpful and just what I was looking for to use with my new digital thermometer. Thank you.

    Perry, couldn’t agree with you more. – RG

  7. Dennis K says:

    What are your thoughts on using the thermometer probes that are left in the meat and the temperature is read outside of the oven. I like using them because, you do not loose heat from the oven each time you open it to check the temperature, and you have less chance of the temperature getting away from you.

    • The Reluctant Gourmet says:

      Dennis, I think they are great especially for roasts and I agree, the less you open the oven door letting out a bunch of heat, the better.

  8. Simon M says:

    According to top michelin-starred chefs in Paris, meat should be rested for however long it’s cooked. So, if you roast a 2kg beef joint for 2hrs 30 mins, it should be rested for 2hrs and 30 mins. Not many amateurs will follow this rule, but it is guaranteed to optimise the succulence of whatever meat has been cooked.

    • The Reluctant Gourmet says:

      Hi Simon, not sure where you read this but I can’t imagine leaving a piece of roasted meat rest for 2 hours and 30 minutes. If you have a source for this information, I would appreciate your sharing it but I would not recommend following these top Michelin Starred chefs in Paris. Who wants to eat cold beef unless it’s a roast beef sandwich?

      • adam says:

        That’s funny, Simon says but was totally off. Thanks for setting him straight, as I wouldn’t want to eat a cold steak either….knowing him he’d probably nuke it to warm it back up again thus changing the temp again and making it harder to chew.

    • Yessidi says:

      Simon, I’m pretty sure that advice applies only to steaks. Obviously a roast left at room temperature for over two hours is not going to be “succulent” in any way, it’s going to be cold with hardened, slimy fat and clumpy dripings.

  9. Foz says:

    I’m cooking a roast beef strictly for slicing into thin sandwich meat. I’m following the temps for medium/well for obvious reasons. My question is… How long should i let the roast rest before attempting to slice it with a meat slicer? Also… would you recommend putting it in the fridge to speed up the cooling process?
    Any input at all would be welcome.

    • Francois andre says:

      First of all,if you’re going to roast off a joint of beef for ‘sarnies’,please,cook it rare.Second,I’d recommend leaving the joint loosely covered,with foil,to allow the steam to escape,letting it cool down a bit before you fridge it over-night.Slice it the following day,and you’ll have some lovely sandwiches.Am I invited over for tea ??
      Francois,ex-professional chef.
      Oh,by the way,having read the previous comments…NEVER,NEVER,NEVER,pierce your meat.If I EVER saw one of my chefs doing that,I’d fire him.
      And that includes temp/thermometer probes,too.

  10. Melissa says:

    Why can’t you cook a roast rare for slicing? The butchers sell it rare.

Leave a Reply

Culinary Schools

Ice Cream Sundays

Strawberry Chocolate with Almonds Gelato Recipe

Strawberry Chocolate with Almonds Gelato Recipe

Strawberry Chocolate with Almonds Gelato Recipe On a recent trip to State College, PA, my wife stopped at Tait Farms to pick up some local products including a Strawberry Dark Chocolate Sauce that my daughter thought would be a great ingredient to try in a new gelato or ice cream. I also had some Dark […]

August 13, 2014 0 Comments
Chocolate Trail Mix Ice Cream

Chocolate Trail Mix Ice Cream

How About Some Chocolate Ice Cream with a Bit of Trail Mix While I was down in the basement working out, I heard my youngest daughter upstairs in the kitchen preparing something.  My daughter has cerebral palsy and uses a walker to get around so I could hear the wheels rolling back and forth as […]

July 25, 2014 5 Comments
Hot Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe

Hot Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe

 We Used Starbucks Hot Chocolate Mix For This One Maddie and I were thinking about making some homemade ice cream and since chocolate is her favorite, we thought we would give that a try. I looked in the recipe book that came with my new Cuisinart Ice Cream Gelato Maker and found a basic recipe […]

July 10, 2014 0 Comments
Strawberry Gelato Recipe

Strawberry Gelato Recipe

Fresh Seasonal Strawberries Make For Great Gelato By now you know I am the proud owner of a Cuisinart Commercial Quality Ice Cream & Gelato Maker given to me by my neighbors Bob and Barbara for my recent birthday and I’ve been experimenting with it to learn how to make great homemade ice cream and […]

June 29, 2014 0 Comments
Difference Between Ice Cream and Gelato

Difference Between Ice Cream and Gelato

What’s the Difference Between Ice Cream & Gelato I celebrated a big birthday at the beginning of the month and my wife invited some friends over including my neighbor who gave me a Cuisinart Commercial Quality Ice Cream & Gelato Maker (ICE-100) as a birthday present.  This past weekend, my youngest daughter and I put […]

June 20, 2014 5 Comments

Reluctant Gourmet’s Top Tip Lists

Check Out My RG Cooking Cartoons

css.php