It’s Barbeque Time, Do You Know Your Magic Meat Number?
My grilling improved 100% with one little purchase; I bought a meat thermometer. Inside the package for that thermometer was a list of "safe" temperatures for meat. After the click I'll lay the numbers down for ya' after the jump.
If you over cook meat, it's dry and tasteless. If you undercook meat, YOU COULD DIE! Seriously, it's dangerous. Now, I wouldn't mind dying while eating a steak or burger, I just don't want to die BECAUSE I ate a steak or burger. With this in mind, it's time to know "the magic number" for your meat.
The number I use for all my grillin' is 165 degrees. Now, there are some exceptions to this. For anything other poultry, you can get away with about 145 to 160 for the internal temperature if you let the meat sit for at least three minutes after you take it off the grill. Poultry and ground meat are the ones most likely to get you sick, and I've found that steak that hasn't been brought up to 165 is still a little too bloody for most folks, so 165 is just a good number. There's a number of health reasons for all of this, and if you don't want to take my word for it, head over the the USDA page. The cool thing is, you may find that 165 isn't enough for you, you may find some other 'secret' number that you like to cook your steaks or whatever to, but take my word for it, a thermometer takes all the guess work out of grilling. The barbeque thermometers with the nice long shaft (huh, huh, nice long shaft) can be found for less than ten bucks at most stores.