A Guide to Meat Temperatures

Humans have been cooking meat for over 250 000 years, from ancient open fires to grilling on a gas braai. Cooking meat breaks down the connective tissues and tough fibers which makes the meat easier to chew and digest. While cooking most meat is important (unless you’re a carpaccio and tartare fan!), it’s also important that you’re aware of the specific meat temperatures to get the flavour and texture you desire. From pork products to beef cuts, see our guide to meat temperatures for more.

The healthiest meat cooking methods

If you’re health-conscious and want to treat the piece of meat in question with as much respect as possible, roasting and baking the meat at lower temperatures for longer periods is the way to go! Poaching, simmering, and stewing the meat at low temperatures minimises the production of advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which are known to contribute to increased oxidant stress and inflammation.

Ideal meat temperatures for cooking

It goes without saying that bacteria exist in all raw meats and cooking eliminates harmful bacteria that can lead to food poisoning. However, foodborne illnesses aside, knowing your meat temperatures will help you achieve your preferred end result, i.e. rare, medium-rare, medium, and well done (a scale of ‘dead’ to ‘definitely dead’ can also be referenced). For pork products like ham, pork roasts, and pork chops, we recommend cooking until medium-done at 90℃ with a three-minute rest period afterward. Ground meat should be cooked at 71℃ and poultry cooked at a similar temperature, checking for any evidence of uncooked, pink meat. 

For a rare steak, cook at 40℃; for medium-rare, cook at 55℃; for medium cook at 60℃; and for well-done cook at 70℃. Essentially, the higher the temperature you use when cooking your meat, the better-cooked the end result will be and this is entirely dependent on your preference (except in the case of chicken — rare is not an option unless you want to get sick!)

How to measure meat temperatures 


Measuring the temperature of your meat according to how you want it cooked can easily be done with a meat thermometer, which doesn’t have to break the bank. A thermometer is hugely helpful as it takes the guesswork out of searing, grilling, and roasting your meat. All you have to do is inset the thermometer 1.3cm into the thickest part of the meat, avoiding any bone and fat. If you prefer, there are a variety of digital thermometers available which are easier to use and read. 

Cooking should always be a fun and enjoyable activity, whether you’re home alone or preparing a meal for your family. Make sure you cook whatever piece of meat you have with respect and with the goal of maximising its flavour. Discuss this more with the experts at VWG — get in touch!

Van Wyngaardt’s delivery policy

Our delivery policy requires a minimum order amount depending on the region. You may order from Monday to Thursday. Should you place an order before 12:00, we assure you of next-day delivery. If you order after 12:00, the order will be delivered to you the following working day. This is only valid for Gauteng stores. Outer Gauteng stores delivery period may vary. At Van Wyngaardt, we pride ourselves on always providing exceedingly good meats.

Should you have any queries or require more information, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us, and one of our sales representatives will gladly assist you. 

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