Safe Temperature For Cooking Meat


Safe cooking is essential in preventing foodborne illness. You can’t see, smell, or taste harmful bacteria that may cause illness, so cook all meat to these minimum internal temperatures to destroy germs and pathogens as measured with a food thermometer before removing food from the heat source:

What temperature is meat safe to eat:

All temperatures in degrees Fahrenheit.

GROUND: Beef, Pork, Veal, Lamb (160)

GROUND: Turkey, Chicken (165)


BEEF: Steaks, Roasts, Chops (145)


CHICKEN: Whole, Breast, Wings, Thighs, Legs (165)


TURKEY: Whole, Breast, Wings, Thighs, Legs (165)


DUCK & GOOSE (165)


PORK and HAM (145)


VEAL and LAMB (145)


GAME ANIMALS: Venison, Elk, Bison (160)




SEAFOOD: Fish, Shellfish (145)


Don’t rely upon color or texture alone to tell if the meat is safe to eat.

Using a food thermometer is the only way to determine if foods are fully cooked.


How To Use A Food Thermometer

When you think your food is cooked, place the food thermometer in the thickest part of the food, making sure the tip does not touch bone, fat, or gristle.

Wait the amount of time required for your type of thermometer to stabilize a steady reading.

Clean your thermometer after each use with hot soapy water.

There are two predominant types of food thermometers that people use – a digital thermometer and a dial thermometer. The digital works very quickly while a dial takes a moment longer to provide an accurate reading. The digital requires a battery (ordinarily no problem) while the dial thermometer is stand-alone (no worries about a dead battery – good for SHTF).

Best rated food thermometers include:
Digital Pocket Thermometer

DIAL: ‘CDN’ ProAccurate Insta-Read Large Dial Cooking Thermometer

I prefer both types, because one cannot depend upon electricity or batteries all of the time…

US Department of Agriculture


  1. Because of the hormones and antibiotics not to mention the omega fat imbalances in grain fed beef, we have a grass fed steer slaughtered when we need to restock the freezer. this also is a huge savings versus buying grass fed beef from Whole Foods or some other outlet that sells this type meats. I figured on our last steer we saved between $8000.00 and $10,000.00. The price we paid for the steer, slaughter, and vaccum packaging was $1836.00, 100 pounds of fround beef and 25 pounds of steak at Whole Foods will cost the same. It’s a no brainer especialy since Whole Food’s beef comes from out of country.
    When you freeze meat (beef,venison, elk, buffalo)for 14 days all pathogens and other bad things are killed. We actually like to eat beef seasoned and raw and do so on a fairly regular basis after 14 days of freezing. This way none of the food quality has been destroyed by cooking and the meat is perfectly safe if you handle it properly between the freezer and the plate. The Syrian dish, Kibbi is a dish that has been eaten for thousands of years without problems if prepared correctly and it is raw lamb ground with wheat or other grain.
    If you aren’t useing 14 day frozen meats or haven’t acquired a taste for healthy raw meat by all means do go by the temp guidelines but you are missing out on the great taste and texture of seasoned raw beef, venison and the others listed above.

  2. I have a BBQ stand, a thermometer is a must!!!!! It takes guess work out of cooking. I prefer a large dial thermometer from 0 to 220 and also recommend you have one for oil and candy that reads 200 to 500.Multipals of each are handy get different lengths they come with probes from 4 to 12 inches long.

  3. PS hold and reheat temperature is 160 degrees before serving for hot food .and for cold dishes its hold and serve is 45 and below.

    1. It’s 140 and 40 here. That assumes that the food was properly prepared in the first place.

  4. Much appreciated. Thx. Great idea regarding Photovoltaic system and small fridge. I happen to be presently tinkering with a battery bank (AGM’s) and charger/ inverter for in-house backup ‘electrons’ to last throughout one night during a power outage (enough to keep furnace running, and fridge/ freezer) all night without having to run a generator during the night.

    1. Use the gen during the day to recharge the batteries? While doing other things. Charging batteries doesn’t take much juice.

      1. The battery bank system will charge from one of several sources including by simply having it plugged into an outlet (to maintain a full charge and trickle charge – pre-power-outage scenario) or it will charge via a generator (which will also be running the rest of the house during a power outage). It will be nice to be able to run the house (minimally) at night without having a generator running, and then re-charge via generator the next morning (assuming the power is still out ;) )

        During the spring I will be implementing solar photovoltaic panels as well…

        1. Do you have any power quality issues with the gen? There is probably an inverter in there somewhere. Which gen did you go with?

        2. One (portable) generator that I have (and the one I use to power the house during a power-outage) is the Yamaha EF4500iSE. No power issues whatsoever because it delivers pure sine wave – a built-in inverter. It is the quietest generator of its kind on the market, which was (is) important to me. The 4500 watt rating is more than enough to power all essential electronics/electrical in my house while in ‘conservation mode’ (using common sense to not run lots of high-current devices simultaneously). In fact, while recently running the house this way one evening (a test), the generator was purring along between 1/4 and 1/3 power – no problem. Fuel efficiency is great – consuming only about 1/3 gallon per hour under this load.

          In the future I may be looking into a propane generator – more of a permanent solution – given that after our move last year we now have a 1,000 gallon (buried) propane tank to draw from – and the gas is already plumbed to a location outside – as though the previous owner considered it (or used it for a BBQ grill).

  5. First off, ensure the readability of the product. Of course, it will totally be awkward on your part to get something that you can’t even read because if this is the case then there is no point getting a thermometer in the first place.

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