Internal temperature plays a very significant role in BBQ. Cooking without any idea about the internal temperature of the food is like driving a car at night without using the headlights. Also, I would urge all of you to always remember that internal temperature always prevails over time and touch, as far as BBQ is concerned.
There are many cookbooks available in the market that may suggest that it is possible to tell when meat is done by just poking it. However, this is completely baseless. Similarly, it is not possible to tell the same by cutting the meat or by the color of its juice. A much more scientific approach is required to ensure that you don’t end up with uncooked or overcooked food.
Meat thermometers are certainly your best bet if you want your meat to be tender, safe, flavorful, and juicy. All these factors are controlled while cooking by the cooker’s internal temperature. Therefore, the core of proper barbecuing is all about understanding what are the optimum and safe internal temperatures for different types of meats.
Most of the available smokers and grills come with inbuilt bi-metal dial thermometers. However, please remember that these thermometers are not at all accurate. These thermometers have a primitive design, and can deviate from the actual temperature by up to fifty degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, it is important to invest in a good quality digital thermometer.
Talking about digital meat thermometers, the name that comes first to my mind is the Thermapen MK4 model. I have always been a great fan of Thermapen since I first used it. Their latest model MK4 functions accurately within the huge temperature range of -58.0 to 572.0 degrees Fahrenheit. Most importantly, the thermometer delivers the readings almost instantaneously. With an accelerometer-driven auto-rotating display, it is easy to get the reading regardless of the angle. Its backlit screen can help you find the meat’s exact temperature while working in the back of the smoker or the dark.
As we have already discussed, a good quality digital thermometer will take the guesswork out of your barbecuing experience. However, it is important to remember that there are certain internal temperatures at which poultry, meat, and seafood are cooked perfectly. Given below is a comprehensive internal temperature chart at which your food is safe and tastes the best.
Type Internal Temperature(Fahrenheit)
Beef-Lamb-Veal (Extra-Rare) 80 to 100 degrees
Beef-Lamb-Veal (Rare) 120 to 125 degrees
Beef-Lamb-Veal (Medium-Rare) 130 to 135 degrees
Beef-Lamb-Veal (Medium) 140 to 145 degrees
Beef-Lamb-Veal (Medium-Well) 150 to 155 degrees
Beef-Lamb-Veal (Well Done) 160 degrees and above
Brisket 165 to 175 degrees
Pot Roast 180 degrees
Whole Chicken or Duck 160 to 165 degrees
Poultry (Dark meat) 160 to 165 degrees
Poultry (Breast meat) 160 to 165 degrees
Poultry (Thighs, Wings, and Legs) 160 to 165 degrees
Whole Turkey 165 degrees
Deep Fried or Cajun Fried Turkey 170 degrees
Ground Poultry 160 to 165 degrees
Turkey Stuffing 165 degrees
Pork Roasts/Steaks/Chops (Medium) 140 to 145 degrees
Pork Roasts/Steaks/Chops (Well Done) 160 degrees
Pork Ribs 180 to 200 degrees
Pork shoulders (Pork Butt) 195 to 200 degrees
Pork Brisket 195 to 200 degree
Raw Sausage 160 degrees
Pre-cooked Sausage 140 degrees
Raw Ham 160 degrees
Pre-cooked Ham 140 degrees
Salmon 130 to 135 degrees
Halibut, Cod, Red Snapper 130 to 135 degrees
Trout 135 to 140 degrees
Tuna – Swordfish – Marlin 125 degrees
Shrimp 120 degrees
Lobster 145 degrees
Crab Cakes 150 to 155 degrees
Scallops 120 degrees