Meat Cooking Temperature Guide

Meat Cooking Temperature Guide for Cooking Beef, Lamb, Pork and Chicken.

When it comes to cooking meat, there is one key element that is always important to consider: temperature. Whether you are cooking beef, lamb, pork or chicken, making sure that the meat is cooked to the right temperature is crucial in ensuring that it is both safe to eat and delicious. This guide will provide you with information on what temperatures to cook different types of meat at, so that you can make sure your next meal is perfect.

How to take meat temperature

Digital instant read meat trherometer inserted inside some steak

It is important to know how to take meat temperature so that you can cook your food to the proper doneness. Here are some tips on how to take meat temperature:

Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, away from any bone and ideally into the center of the meat.

For steak , lamb and pork, insert the thermometer sideways so that it penetrates the meat all the way through until you reach the middle.

For poultry, insert the thermometer into the inner thigh near the breast as this is the thickes part and takes the longest to cook.

Depending on the type of thermometer you have, wait a few seconds, remove the thermometer and check the temperature.

Choosing a meat thermometer

The main purpose of a meat thermometer is to accurately measure the internal temperature of meat. This  ensures that the meat has reached an appropriate temperature and is safe to eat.

When it comes to choosing a meat thermometer, there are many factors to consider. First, decide what type of meat thermometer you need. There are two main types: oven-safe and instant-read. Oven-safe thermometers can be left in the meat while it cooks, while instant-read thermometers must be inserted into the meat after cooking.

Of the instant read thermometers the most basic type is the dial type and inserted for a few seconds then removed. They are also the cheapest ones to buy. There are also many different digital instant read thermometers for a couple of bucks extra that do the same job.

An oven-safe thermometer is the most accurate type. It displays both the internal and external temperatures, which allows you to get an accurate reading every time. This type often comes with an alarm function so it can alert you when the meat reaches the desired temperature.These are nomally inserted into the meat before you start grilling and come up to temperature as you grill.
Most of these type come with an app to connect the thermometer to your mobile phone that lets you see how your meat is going.

Meat Temperatures

At what temperature is beef done?

When it comes to grilling beef, there are a lot of different factors that can affect the perfect cook. But when it comes down to it, temperature is everything. Here’s what you need to know about cooking beef at the right temperature.
Beef is done at 145°F internal temperature as measured by a meat thermometer. This level of doneness is considered safe by the USDA. However, keep in mind that this temperature will continue to rise after you take the meat off the grill, so aim for 140°F – 60°C if you want your beef cooked medium.

These temps below are a guide for different levels of doneness.

Rare 120°F – 51°C
Medium Rare 130°F – 54°C
Medium 140°F – 60°C
Medium Well 150°F – 65°C
Well done 160°F – 71°C

Of course, different cuts of beef will have different ideal cooking temperatures. For example, steakhouse-style New York strips are best cooked at a slightly higher temperature than filet mignon.
Remember to rest your steak for 5 – 10 minutes after cooking to relax the meat.

At what temperature is lamb done?

Lamb is ready when it reaches the desired internal temperature. It is safe to eat once the internal temperature has reached 135°F (57°C).
To gauge doneness, use an instant-read meat thermometer. Remember that lamb cooks quickly, so a bare minimum of 5 minutes and up to 30 minutes per pound (450g) of lamb is needed for rare.

Ideal safe cooking temperatures for lamb are:

Rare 135°F – 57°C
Medium-rare 140°F – 60°C
Medium 160°F – 71°C
Well done 165°F – 73°C

Since the meat continues to cook after it has been removed from the heat source, it’s important not to overcook lamb.
As with most meat that you grill, resting the lamb for around 10 minutes after cooking will help the meat relax and make it more tender.

At what temperature is pork done?

Pork is a versatile meat that can be cooked in many different ways. The USDA recommends cooking pork to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit, but this may vary depending on your personal preferences.
While pork is delicious when cooked to medium-rare, it should be cooked to 145°F, (63.5°C) to kill harmful bacteria and germs that might be on the surface of the meat.

Safe cooking temperatures for pork are:

Medium 143°F – 63°C
Well Done 160°F – 71°C

At what temperature is poultry done?

Poultry is typically cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F. However, chicken, turkey, and duck can all be cooked to different temperatures and still be safe to eat.
Chicken can be cooked to a lower temperature than turkey or duck, as it is more tender and has less fat. Chicken is typically considered done at 155°F, but it can be cooked to as low as 140°F and still be safe to eat (making sure the juices are clear is an indicator that it is cooked also). Turkey and duck, on the other hand, should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F.
While poultry can be safely cooked to different temperatures, it is important to make sure that it is cooked through before eating. Poultry that is not properly cooked can contain harmful bacteria that can cause foodborne illness.

Minimum temperatures for poultry include:

Chicken 160°F – 71°C
Turkey 165°F – 74°C
Duck 165°F – 74°C

Why You Should Rest Your Meat After Cooking

One of the best ways to keep your meat from getting tough is to rest it after you take it off the grill. While resting allows the meat to relax and redistribute its juices, having it sit for around 10 minutes after cooking is also important for flavour.
Another tip is to rest your steak prior to cooking, by that I mean let it come to room temperature out of the fridge before placing on your grill.
This also helps to relax the proteins making the end result ever so juicy and tender.


The bottom line on cooking meat to perfection.

  • Bringing your meat up to room temperature before grilling will relax the proteins in the meat.
  • Resting meat after grilling makes it juicier and easier to chew.
  • Make sure to cook meat to the correct temperature by using a thermometer.
  • Know how to take meat temperature and how long to cook it to ensure safety and deliciousness.
  • Don’t keep poking your steak with a fork or similar as this will release the juices from the meat.
  • Use a hot grill to seal the juices into your favourite cut.
  • Don’t turn your meat too much, just enough to prevent buring from flare-ups.

Written By


Hi there, I'm Greg (also known as Herbie) and like most Aussies enjoy a good BBQ. I want to share with you some tips and recipes, along with gear that I like, to help you with your backyard barbecue and grilling hobbie.Anyway, have a look around and let me know what you think and happy BBQing. Cheers Herbie.

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