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How to Use a Meat Thermometer

Cooking meat to the perfect doneness is a fine art that can be learned and perfected over many years. But who has time for that – right? That’s why we recommend everyone have a meat thermometer. Never waste time and effort cooking an expensive cut of meat only to over or under cook it – a good meat thermometer is the best way to guarantee that your meat is correctly, and safely, cooked.

How to Choose a Meat Thermometer

There are several different types of meat thermometer, but they fall into two basic categories:

  1. Meat thermometers that you stick in the meat to read the temperature after you have removed it from the oven (or air fryer), and
  2. Meat thermometers that you leave in the meat while its cooking, or that have a probe that remains in the meat while it is cooking. These often have customizable alarms so there is no risk of forgetting to check and over cooking your meat.

Using a Meat Thermometer

Leave-in meat thermometer

  • If you are using a thermometer with a leave-in probe, place it in the cut of meat at the thickest part, trying to ensure that it is in the thickest part, and close to the bone (if the cut has a bone).

Instant-read meat thermometer

  • If you have an instant-read stick-in type, insert it into the meat at the thickest part (you are actually trying to find the coolest part of the meat).
  • Watch the temperature read-out as you push the probe in – the temperature should keep dropping as the probe heads towards the deepest part of the meat. When it starts to rise again you’ve gone too far. The minimum point is the temperature reading you should go by.

What temperature should I cook the meat to?

Use our hand guide below to calculate the temperature you should cook your meat to.

Beef – rare120-125°F / 49-52°C
Beef – medium-rare130-135°F / 55-57°C
Beef – medium140-145°F / 60-63°C
Beef – medium-well150-155°F / 65-68°C
Beef – well done160°F / 71°C and above
Lamb – rare135°F / 57 °C
Lamb – medium-rare140-150°F / 60-65°C
Lamb – medium160°F / 71°C
Lamb – well done165°F / 74°C and above
Chicken165-175°F / 74-80°C
Turkey165-175°F / 74-80°C
Pork145°F / 63°C
Ground poultry165°F / 74°C
Ground meat, patties160-165°F / 71-74°C


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