Cooking meat on a barbecue can be a delightful experience, but ensuring that it's cooked to perfection is essential for both flavor and safety. Here are some tips to help you determine when your meat is properly cooked:
Use A Meat Thermometer
Investing in a good quality instant-read meat thermometer is crucial. Different types of meat require specific internal temperatures to be considered safe for consumption. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, avoiding contact with bone or fat. Refer to the temperature guide below for the desired doneness of your particular meat.
Observe Color & Texture
Visual cues can also give you an indication of how well your meat is cooked. For example, a perfectly cooked medium-rare steak should have a pinkish-red center and feel slightly firm yet springy to touch. Overcooking can result in a dry and tough texture.
Juiciness is a good indicator of meat cooked or not. Poke the meat with a fork or make a small incision to check the juices. For poultry, the juices should be clear, not pink.
Check Time & Temperature Guidelines
While not as accurate as using a meat thermometer, following general time and temperature guidelines can help. For instance, a 1-inch-thick steak cooked on medium-high heat usually requires around 4-5 minutes per side for medium-rare. However, these guidelines vary depending on the type of meat, thickness, and desired doneness, so it's always best to use a thermometer as your primary tool.
Give A Resting Period
After removing the meat from the grill, let it rest for a few minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a more flavorful and tender final product. We also suggest covering your meat with foil to ensure heat is retained in the meat, so it continues to cook for a few minutes.
Use the following chart below as a temperature guide, keeping in mind that meat should come off the grill when it is 5 to 10 degrees shy of the desired temperature listed below, as it will continue to cook a few minutes after it comes off. It’s safest to cook ground meat to at least 160°F, roasts, steaks, and chops to 145°F, and poultry to 175°F.
Meat Cooked Guide
Remember, undercooked meat can pose health risks, while overcooked meat may be dry and less enjoyable. It's important to find the right balance and follow safety guidelines to achieve the desired level of doneness. With practice and attention to detail, you'll become adept at determining when your meat is perfectly cooked, resulting in delicious meals to savor and enjoy.
To put your new knowledge to the test, see a few healthy grilling recipes below: