March 16, 2009

The Tools of the BBQ Trade - Meat Thermometer

I used to think that the best BBQ'ers could tell when the meat their cooking is done just by touch, or some special BBQ ESP. That's true to some degree (my steaks always cook to a perfect medium rare), but when cooking a pork butt, or a chicken, an essential tool is a good meat thermometer.


You just can't tell by time or sight - I've had pork butts take an hour longer than expected - and without a thermometer I would have never known!

Here's the recommended Minimum Internal Cooking Temperatures:

Fresh ground beef, veal, lamb, pork 160 degrees F

Beef, veal, lamb-roasts, steaks, chops
Medium rare 145 degrees F
Medium 160 degrees F
Well done 170 degrees F

Fresh pork-roasts, steaks, chops
Medium 160 degrees F
Well done 170 degrees F

Ham
Cook before eating 160 degrees F
Fully cooked, to reheat 140 degrees F

Poultry
Ground Chicken, Turkey 165 degrees F
Whole Chicken, Turkey 180 degrees F
Breasts, roasts 170 degrees F
Thighs and wings Cook until juices run clear.

Stuffing (cooked alone or in bird) 165 degrees F
Egg dishes, casseroles 160 degrees F
Leftovers 165 degrees F

Information courtesy the U. S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service

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