How Would You Like That Cooked?

Have you ever bitten into a perfectly cooked steak? If so, you’re familiar with one of life’s greatest joys.

Even before that first bite, you can feel there’s something special happening by the way your knife glides through the beef. From firmness to texture to juiciness, it’s then you know that the meat stars have aligned.

What if we told you that perfectly cooked meat doesn’t require a stroke of luck? That every time you fire up your Nexgrill Oakford 790 Pellet Grill, you could braai your food just as you intended—be it rare, well-done, or something in between?

Well, we have good news. That’s the purpose of this post! From steaks to burgers to lamb roasts, this easy guide will teach you the ideal temperatures for a variety of cuts. Fire up the Nexgrill Oakford 790 Pellet Grill and grab your probe. It’s time to talk meat temperatures.

Why is it Important to Monitor Meat Temperatures?

1. So It’s Safe To Eat

The USDA lists the safest minimum internal cooking temperature for various braaied meats. It’s worth noting that it’s perfectly acceptable (and common) to braai up meat below these recommended temperatures to achieve a rarer finish. Just make sure you and your guests are fully aware of the health risks associated with consuming raw or undercooked beef, pork, and poultry.

2. So It’s Cooked to Your Liking

Just like coffee orders at Starbucks, everyone likes their food prepared a certain way, and you can be the one to give it to them. Many beginner braai masters make the mistake of checking the doneness of their meats while they’re still on the grill. Cutting into your meat to check its colour releases the juices that make your food flavourful. So, put that steak knife away until your meat is fully rested and ready to be eaten!

With a tool as simple as a probe, you can make sure your meat comes off the grill just how you and your guests like it.

Let’s Go Meat-By-Meat!

Internal Cooking Temperatures for Whole Beef (Steak)

USDA Recommends: 63°C + 3 minutes of rest

  • Rare: 52°C
  • Medium-Rare: 55°C
  • Medium: 60°C
  • Medium-Well: 66°C
  • Well-Done: 72°C

mushroom merlot tri tip medium rare recipe

    To check the temperature of whole beef, insert your probe into the thickest part of the cut, making sure to avoid the bone if one is present. It’s always better to remove your meat sooner rather than later, considering meat will continue to cook even after it comes off the grill.

    Practice makes perfect. Try out this recipe for medium-rare Mushroom Merlot Tri-Tip.

    Internal Cooking Temperatures for Ground Beef (Burgers)

    USDA Recommends: 72°C

    • Medium-Rare: 52°C
    • Medium: 55°C
    • Medium-Well: 60°C
    • Well-Done: 72°C

    ground beef cooking temperature

      The USDA recommends a slightly higher minimum internal cooking temperature for ground beef because ground meats are more likely to be contaminated with food-borne pathogens. Better be safe than sorry and cook your burgers until your thermometer reads an even 72°C.

      Ready for a juicy burger? Try out this recipe for grilled Porto’ Burgers.

      Internal Cooking Temperatures for Pork (Roast, Chops)

      USDA Recommends: 63°C + 3 minutes of rest

      • Medium: 66°C
      • Medium-Well: 68°C
      • Well-Done: 72°C

      grilled pork chops with grilled apple jalapeño

      When it comes to braaiing ham, pork roasts, and pork chops, the USDA recommends sticking to medium doneness and up. 63°C is the magic number for pork, plus 3 minutes of rest after it comes off the grill. Just like with beef, insert your probe about 1.3 cm into the thickest part of the cut to get an accurate read on temp.

      Brush up on your pork-braaiing precision with this recipe for Grilled Pork Chops with Grilled Apple & Jalapeño.

      Internal Cooking Temperatures for Lamb (Roast, Chops)

      USDA Recommends: 63°C + 3 minutes of rest

      • Rare: 52°C
      • Medium-Rare: 55°C
      • Medium: 60°C
      • Medium-Well: 66°C
      • Well-Done: 72°C

      how to cook your lamb chops to temp

      We’ll treat lamb the same as we would whole beef, since both are considered “red meats” and cook similarly. It’s true! Beef and lamb contain similar amounts of myoglobin, the protein in muscle that turns red when combined with oxygen.

      Internal Cooking Temperatures for Veal

      USDA Recommends: 63°C + 3 minutes of rest

      • Rare: 52°C
      • Medium-Rare: 55°C
      • Medium: 60°C
      • Medium-Well: 66°C
      • Well-Done: 72°C

      veal chops cooked

        Veal’s on that same myoglobin train, so we’ll treat it as such. Once again, 63°C is the magic number here. Then be sure to let your veal rest for a few minutes before chowing down.

        Internal Cooking Temperatures for Poultry (Chicken, Turkey)

        USDA Recommends: 74°C

        recommended cooking temp for grilled chicken

        There are no levels of doneness when it comes to chicken. According to the USDA, chicken becomes safe to eat at 74°C, but if you keep poultry on the grill for much longer, it will dry out and lose flavour. If chicken’s on the menu, be diligent with your meat probe and remove it from the grill as soon as, if not slightly before, it reads 74°C

        Hungry for tender, juicy chicken? Try out this recipe for Maple Butter Chicken!

        Internal Cooking Temperatures for Fish & Shellfish

        USDA Recommends: 63°C

        grilled trout usda temp recommendations

        Once fish and shellfish hit 63°C, they become safe to eat, according to the USDA. Like chicken, fish will dry out quickly if left on the grill for too long, so keep your eye on that dial!

        In the mood for seafood? Give this recipe for Miso Honey Salmon a spin.

        Now you’re equipped to braai consistently juicy, consistently tasty cuts of meats at whatever doneness you prefer! Don’t forget to share your creations using #Everyonesinvited.

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