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Internal Meat Temperature

Printable internal meat temperature chart you can keep handy so you always know what temps meat should be cooked to when you’re making dinner! 

Internal Meat Temperature

I cook daily. Whether it be pork, beef or chicken in the smoker or in the oven I am forever looking up the proper internal meat temperature information. SO I finally went ahead and created a free printable with all the information you and I would need and am sharing it with you today!! You can find more helpful printables here too.

  • Are you always asking what temps should meat be cooked to too?? I can never remember.

Each cut of meat is different. Of course when it comes to steak you’ll want an absolute minimum temp. of 125 for medium rare but generally the 165 degrees listed is a safer bet.

That would make it medium, well done would be even higher. For larger cuts like a whole turkey or chicken it is REALLY important to accurately check inside the thickest part, that would be the breast. That’s why you need this temperature guide.

This chart came in really handy when we made this here smoked turkey.

It looked done because the meat was pulling away from the bone on the legs. Yet when we removed from the heat and inserted the thermometer it was actually in the internal meat temperature was still in the danger zone so back in it went! You always want to make sure your meat is safely cooked or it can contain harmful bacteria. 

smoked turkey

Having this meat temperature chart on the fridge has been SO helpful! You could keep in a nearby drawer too and just pull it out when you think your meat is about ready.

How can you tell if meat is cooked without a food thermometer?

You may have some luck with smaller items like steaks, but it won’t work for a turkey or whole chicken.

  • Before you cut into your steak use the palm of your hand to check
  • If you press against it and it is soft and fleshy it isn’t done yet, that is a sign that it is still raw.
  • Here’s information about doing a touch test for steak doneness.

Of course once you cut into it you can tell by the color. This color means our smoked steaks are cooked properly. If they still looked fleshy then you’d need to continue cooking them.

It is better to determine whether they need more cook time before slicing into them though or you’ll loose all that juiciness. It’s just worth investing in a thermometer!

smoked steak

What do you need when checking the internal meat temperature?

  1. An accurate instant read thermometer is a must.
    1. this one is great because it’s wireless and you can check the temp on your phone!
  2. This free cooking temperature chart

That’s about it!!

I included the most commonly cooked meats including turkey, ground beef, beef, chicken, seafood and ham. But I also added a few others in case you’re making an egg dish and want to make sure it’s cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature before you serve it. Lamb and pork need the same temp. of 145 degrees, in case you’re wondering.

  • Yes you can use a good “old fashioned” thermometer too like this one BUT make sure you know how to properly use a meat thermometer.

I will explain how to do it below.

turkey cooking time per lb

Right way to use a meat thermometer!

  • Food safety is key so the first thing you need to do is remove your meat from the heat source.

Can you leave a meat thermometer in the meat while it’s cooking?

  • The answer is it depends.
    • If you have an inexpensive type like you see here I would not. The high heat will melt the outer area.
meat thermometer

Do not check while it’s still on the grill or still in the oven. It will not be as accurate.

  • Insert your food thermometer into the thickest dark piece of meat.
    • For a turkey or chicken that would be the middle of the thigh. Insert between the high and the place where the turkey breast begins for an accurate read.
    • Check what temperature to cook steak and then you can decide whether to take it off the grill yet or not.
  • Give it a minute to determine how hot it is.
  • Look at your printable internal meat temperature guide to see whether it is done or needs more time.

I also have this really detailed printable when it comes to cooking a turkey.

how long to cook a turkey

We hope this cooking tip helped and will continue helping when you’re making easy smoker recipes or a turkey for Thanksgiving!

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EDWARD Matthews

Wednesday 5th of May 2021

We have some questions about cooking to which we’ve yet to get answers. We’re cooking for about 100 residents in an assisted living community. Our cooks for years have cooked our poultry, pork, beef, lamb, and others so it’s almost always dry, less than tasty, and yet, not burnt. Items may be cooked to the correct “safe” temperature, then stored it in a heated oven at a temperature near the cooking temperature until it is delivered in covered containers to 6 cottages along walkways. How can we improve our products? Cook to 10 degrees below “safe” cooked temp then immediately store in an oven pre-heated to the “safe” cooked temp, depending on this ‘resting temp’ (they’ll continue to cook) until items are delivered?

Edward W Matthews

Wednesday 5th of May 2021

For years our cooks have given us poultry, beef, pork & others that are typically dry, tasteless, from good quality goods.

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