A basic guide to using a meat cooking thermometer

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Meat thermometer

Meat thermometers are essential kitchen tools that help you cook the meat well, especially for roasts and steaks. It’s a cooking thermometer – generally used to measure the inside temperature of the meat. The cooking time for a certain food is often measured with taste, aroma or visual appearances. When it comes to roasting a whole turkey or preparing a beef steak, the best way to check the cooking status is with a standard food thermometer. A perfectly cooked roast or steak should be juicy and tender. The perfect internal temperature should stay near about 140°F.

Being a professional chef or an armature practitioner, everybody knows the right temperature is the most important thing to keep the food safe to eat.

How to use a cooking thermometer to cook meat?

When has meat reached its optimal internal temperature? You can measure it by using a simple cooking tool – a food thermometer. Here’s how you can use it effectively:

  • Select a good thermometer: A digital thermometer have an instant reading facility. It’s a faster one and offers more accuracy compared to the bimetal thermometers. Only a few seconds are required to read out the internal temperature of the cooking meat.
  • Stick the thermometer to the thickest portion of meat: Usually, the surface temperature remains hotter than the internal temperature of the meat. So, if you want to know whether your steak is perfectly cooked or not, note the internal temperature. Make sure, you have stuck the thermometer in the thickest portion of flesh instead of attaching it to the bones. Otherwise, you won’t get an accurate read.
  • Check the internal temperature when the steak is almost ready: Take a continuous reading of the temperature when the meat is getting closer to being cooked.
  • Let the cooked meat rest for some time: Due to carryover cooking, you should remove the meat from heat when it’s about to reach the optimum cooking temperature. Take the meat out of the oven before a few degrees from finishing. It will reach its desired temperature while resting. If you are wondering what the term “carryover cooking” means, here, we have the answer for you. Some huge cuts of steak or roast – like pork tenderloin or brisket get continuously cooked even after it has been removed from the heat.
  • Know the accurate temperature for each coking type and meat: Maybe you are grilling different types of meats. Then you should know the optimal cooking temperature for each of these meat types. Pork chops require more heat to be cooked than poultry chicken meat.
  • The final checking: Always take the final reading of the temperature before removing the meat from the oven or griller.
  • Cleaning up: Wash the thermometer every time after using it. Otherwise, you may end up getting the wrong temperature reading.

What is the ideal cooking temperature for each meat type?

When you are using a meat thermometer, you should know the recommended safe temperature for cooking each type of meat. As per the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture)’s food safety temperature chart, you should always cook meat until you achieve an accurate safe cooking temperature. According to USDA, meat should never be eaten with a minimum internal temperature under 140°F.

For example, USDA has recommended the minimum temperature for poultry meat is 165°F. The recommended temperature for lamb varies from 130°F – 155°F. 145°F – 160°F is the recommended temperature for pork. Egg dishes should be cooked at 160°F.

So, now, you have the standard chart for each mat type. Before starting to cook a meat dish, know well its optimal cooking temperature. Use a standard cooking thermometer. Only then you can prepare a steak that is perfectly cooked from inside and outside both. Become a better chef with these simple cooking hacks.

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