When is It Done?


Now that grilling season is officially upon us, it’s important to know how to cook our meats properly. Did you know that almost all barbecued meat is overcooked? It’s true, since people are more and more cautious about under-cooking their proteins these days.

To aid with cooking meat to the proper temperature, I like to recommend a meat thermometre for anyone who isn’t a trained chef. I keep one at the ready, and when in doubt use it to keep my meat from getting overcooked when it’s on the grill.

Good to Know: Remember that meat will continue to cook when you remove it from the grill; so pull it off a few degrees before your desired temperature.

Here are some tips to start:

  • For beef, medium rare meat is cooked to 140°C, medium to 155°C and medium-well to 155 to 165°C. If you happen to like well-done beef, keep it on the grill until it registers at least 165°C on your thermometre.
  • All poultry should be cooked to a minimum of 165°C and you always want to see the juices running clear. If that doesn’t happen, throw it back over the coals for a few extra minutes.
  • Pork cooking temperatures vary depending on the cut, but chops, ribs, shoulders and sausages are cooked to around 160°C with no pink in the centre.
  • Most fish is grilled for 4 to 5 minutes per side or until it is opaque and flaky. If you use a thermometre on your fish, it should be cooked to approximately 145°C.

When we grill meat we always cook at least double what we need. Leftovers can be fashioned into no-cook salads and sandwiches on the days that it’s too hot to turn on the stove or the barbeque.

Leftover ribs and chicken wings are always popular lunch options in my house.

How do you know when your meat is done? Do you use a thermometre, the touch technique or just hope for the best?


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