Essential Meat Thermometer

Dan General, This Land of Ours

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The kitchen essential for safe cooking, and the surprising number of households actually using it. Cathy Isom lets us know what this tool is coming up on This Land of Ours.

Essential Meat Thermometer

When you cook beef, poultry or seafood you should be using a meat or food thermometer. But you might be surprised by a recent survey by the Census Bureau and the Ag Department. Karen Hamrick says thousands of chief household meal preparers were questioned in the study and asked if they’d ever used a meat thermometer,

“and of those, 13-percent did in fact use a meat or food thermometer in cooking their meat, poultry or seafood.”

meat thermometer-6Only 13-percent! Which is a little startling since not using a meat and food thermometer could mean a matter of life or death according to USDA Food Safety Expert Marianne Gravely.

“it’s the only way to know that your food has reached a safe temperature. You can’t tell by looking at a food. You can’t tell by the juices. The only reliable way to know that your food has reached a safe temperature is to use a food thermometer.”

Meat and food thermometers can be found in many stores or online and start at just under ten bucks.

From: Food

Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures

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Use this chart and a food thermometer to ensure that meat, poultry, seafood, and other cooked foods reach a safe minimum internal temperature.

Remember, you can’t tell whether meat is safely cooked by looking at it. Any cooked, uncured red meats – including pork – can be pink, even when the meat has reached a safe internal temperature.

Why the Rest Time is Important

After you remove meat from a grill, oven, or other heat source, allow it to rest for the specified amount of time. During the rest time, its temperature remains constant or continues to rise, which destroys harmful germs.

Category Food Temperature (°F)  Rest Time 
Ground Meat & Meat Mixtures Beef, Pork, Veal, Lamb 160 None
Turkey, Chicken 165 None
Fresh Beef, Veal, Lamb Steaks, roasts, chops 145 3 minutes
Poultry Chicken & Turkey, whole 165 None
Poultry breasts, roasts 165 None
Poultry thighs, legs, wings 165 None
Duck & Goose 165 None
Stuffing (cooked alone or in bird) 165 None
Pork and Ham Fresh pork 145 3 minutes
Fresh ham (raw) 145 3 minutes
Precooked ham (to reheat) 140 None
Eggs & Egg Dishes Eggs Cook until yolk and white are firm None
Egg dishes 160 None
Leftovers & Casseroles Leftovers 165 None
Casseroles 165 None
Seafood Fin Fish 145 or cook until flesh is opaque and separates easily with a fork. None
Shrimp, lobster, and crabs Cook until flesh is pearly and opaque. None
Clams, oysters, and mussels Cook until shells open during cooking. None
Scallops Cook until flesh is milky white or opaque and firm. None