The ultimate temperature guide for cooking meat and fish


In Neanderthal times, the average life expectancy was only around 30 years, and that’s probably because primitive people never knew exactly when their food was fully cooked and died of all kinds of diseases. food-based, according to the research we did for this article. These days, we have the luxury of having meat thermometers, which are the most accurate – and therefore safest – way to determine when your beef, chicken, fish or shellfish is ready to eat (and not overcooked). ). Here’s your ultimate guide to cooking temperatures for meat and fish.

1 in 20

Clams, mussels and oysters

Alex Staroseltsev / Shutterstock.com

Clams, mussels and oysters are all bivalve molluscs and therefore should all be cooked to the same internal temperature. Chefs will tell you to watch the amount of steam escaping from the pot or look for the shells to crack open (the latter is the FDA recommendation), but the only way to really be sure your shellfish are safe is to obtain an internal temperature reading. 145°F.

Crab

YaJurka / Shutterstock.com

Taking a crab’s temperature can be tricky, and not just because it’s grumpy. (Hardy har har.) The best place to check is at the base of the claw at the seal, and you’ll want a reading of 145°F.

Eggs

Press Master / Shutterstock.com

Generally, the rule is: when the whites turn white and the yolks no longer runny, your eggs are done. It’s not an exact science, however, and it’s especially tricky if you’re adding cheese or cooking sunny-side up eggs. Instead, stick a thermometer in the middle; eggs are done when they reach 160°F.

Ground beef

Wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock.com

My apologies in advance to people who like their rarer burgers; the safest internal temperature for ground beef is at least 160°F, which is considered medium or medium. For those who prefer well-done burgers: you are in the clear! Just show some respect for the beef and don’t burn it.

Halibut

Foodio / Shutterstock.com

Chefs will tell you to aim for an internal temperature of 130-135°F when cooking halibut. It’s considered medium, so it’s worth mentioning that the FDA actually recommends 145°F, or when the “flesh is opaque and separates easily with a fork.”

Ham

Brent Hofacker / Shutterstock.com

If you’re fully cooking a ham for the first time, you’ll want a temperature reading of 145°F and let it sit for three minutes as well. For pre-cooked ham, aim for 140°F. To help you estimate cooking time in a 350°F oven, you will need 20 minutes per pound of raw ham or 10 minutes per pound of pre-cooked ham.

Lamb

Forest Manufacturing Foxys / Shutterstock.com

Mary had a little lamb, and she cooked it until it reached an internal temperature of 145°F because Mary follows FDA recommendations. Mary also prefers her lamb well medium, so the 145°F range is the perfect spot for her chops. (Muton is 145°F too!)

Lobster

Tara Turkington / Shutterstock.com

The safe temperature for lobster is 145°F when the flesh becomes pearly and opaque. On the other hand, chefs will tell you that the sweet spot is 135-140°F. If you’re careful, aim for 145 F on point, as the flesh will quickly become chewy if overcooked.

Pork

Christine Bird / Shutterstock.com

Whether you like pork chops, pork tenderloin, or pork ribs, the internal temperature to aim for is 145°F. One of the only exceptions is if you’re making pulled pork; you’ll want to let the meat get more tender, so aim for around 180-190°F to get that plump effect.

Poultry

Jon Beard / Shutterstock.com

Almost all poultry (chicken, turkey, duck, goose, pheasant) should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F. It doesn’t matter if it’s a wing, thigh or breast… or if you’re cooking, frying or grilling. The only possible exception is whole chickens and turkeys, which have a recommended internal temperature of 180°F in the thigh and 170°F in the breast.

Salmon

Mironov Vladimir / Shutterstock.com

Most people agree that wild salmon tastes best at 120°F and Atlantic salmon at 125°F, but the USDA and FDA both recommend 145°F as a safe temperature for salmon. For reference, 120-125°F is medium-rare and 145°F is close to well-done. You can split the difference, but be careful!

Sausage

Encierro / Shutterstock.com

Sausage requires a higher internal temperature than the meat it is made from. Beef and pork can both be cooked to 145°F and are safe, but in sausage form, you’ll want to heat it to 160°F. If it’s chicken sausage, go for 165°F.

Cutlets

Brent Hofacker / Shutterstock.com

Scallops are also shellfish, so like clams, mussels, and oysters, they should also be cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F. The difference is that scallops are not cooked in their shell, so you cannot not use the shell opening as an indicator, which makes your meat thermometer very handy. You can also rely on the flesh, which should be firm and milky white or opaque in appearance.

Shrimp

Anton27 / Shutterstock.com

Surprisingly, the FDA does not have a recommended internal temperature for shrimp. Instead, they just say to cook it until the flesh is pearly and opaque, which happens at around 120°F. The USDA, on the other hand, recommends 145°F.

Smoked beef

VDB Photos / Shutterstock.com

Ground beef and steak have their own rules elsewhere on this list, but if you’re cooking brisket or ribs, you’ll want a much higher temperature. For the first, aim for 195°F, and for the second, strive for the very specific temperature of 203°F (but 200-205°F will do).

Steak

Natalia Lisovskaya / Shutterstock.com

The safest way to cook a steak is to bring it up to 145°F, which is considered medium. This works for us, but if you prefer your steak differently, rare is 125°F, medium-rare is 135°F, and medium-rare is 150°F. Please don’t overcook your steak well done.

Tuna

Tema_Kud / Shutterstock.com

For tuna steaks, the recommended temperature is 145°F, however, some chefs will aim for around 140°F to ensure the fish is not overcooked. Want to reach 145°F without drying out your tuna? When using the grill, try cooking fish wrapped in foil. You can even add lemons, onions or vegetables at the same time. Just place them under the steak and top with marinade or sauce of your choice before wrapping it all up.

Calf

Istetiana / Shutterstock.com

Whether it’s a chop, roast, or steak, the safe temperature for veal is 145°F, which is considered medium-rare. If you don’t have a thermometer handy, gently prick the meat with your finger as it cooks. If he rebounds quickly, he needs more time.

Venison

Hlphoto / Shutterstock.com

Many meat thermometers come with suggested temperatures for beef, pork, and chicken printed directly on them. They probably don’t include venison! The safe temperature for venison is 145°F (160°F for ground venison), although most chefs suggest 130-140°F.

Wild boar

Hlphoto / Shutterstock.com

In case you have a boar bag, know that the recommended internal temperature is 180°F. Try keeping it at 180°F for about an hour which will break down the collagen and give you fork tender meat.

Previous Before the Filet-O-Fish, McDonald's had a completely different idea in mind.
Next Illegal fish, hunting infractions: NorthEscambia.com