How food, especially meats, is stored is important so that the food is safe to consume. The right internal temperature must be reached when cooking meats. Always use a food thermometer to test for the internal temperature of the item you are cooking. Just looking at the food, you can’t tell if it is fully cooked. It is important that the meat has reached the right internal temperature to ensure that certain bacteria are killed and it is safe for human consumption.
How to test
Use a meat thermometer to test the meat. A digital thermometer will provide fast and accurate readings. Stick the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat when it is getting close to being done. Make sure it is in the meat and not on a bone. Thicker cuts of meat often need rest time. It will continue cooking when it is removed from the heat. Therefore, you can remove it from the heat when it is a few degrees from the required temperature. Download the internal temperature cheat sheet to know the correct internal temperature of the meat you are cooking. Just before serving, test the temperature one last time. Clean up the meat thermometer after using it, so it is ready for the next time.
I don’t know about you, but I can never remember the “safe” temperatures for meat when I’m cooking dinner, so I put together this handy cheat sheet to help me remember. And, of course, I wanted to share it with you too!
A huge thanks to What’s Cooking America for the information used to create this chart, and I also included the USDA’s recommended temperatures in the header of each section.
Download the cheat sheet
This cheat sheet is two pages long, so print it on both sides of a piece of cardstock or slip both pieces back-to-back into a sheet protector so you can keep it in your kitchen for quick reference!