How to Tell if Meat is Cooked

How to Tell if Meat is Cooked. Whether you're cooking fish, chicken or roast tenderloin, it's extremely important to be able to tell when meat is cooked. Food borne illnesses resulting from undercooked meat is dangerous and relying on your eyes can be deceiving when trying to tell if meat is cooked. There are a few tried and true methods that can keep you and your family safe when cooking meat.

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Cut your poultry or pork to tell if it's done by taking a fork and a sharp knife and slice into the thickest part of the meat. The color of the meat in the center should not have any pink coloring or it needs to cook longer.

Check the doneness of other meat by color. Rare meat will be reddish in color, medium rare will be pink, and meat that's well done will have no indication of pink or red color throughout.

Touch the meat to tell if it's done; experienced grillers use this handy trick. Press a finger onto the meat or rub a finger in a circle on the surface to test the firmness to tell if meat is cooked. If it's softer and somewhat squishy, it's on the rare side, but if it feels firm and tough it's reached well done.

Use a food thermometer to tell if meat is cooked thoroughly. Insert it into the thickest part of the meat toward the end of the cooking time. Poultry is done at 165 degrees Fahrenheit or higher; pork is safe to eat at 170 degrees; rare meat is 155 to 160 degrees; medium rare is 160 to 170 degrees; and well done meat is around 170 degrees or higher.

Tell if fish is cooked when the thermometer reaches a minimum temperature of 145 to 154 degrees Fahrenheit.

Tips & Warnings

  • Many professional chefs and grillers don't recommend cooking meat without a food thermometer.
  • Cooking time can vary depending on the thickness of the meat.
  • Undercooked meat is especially dangerous for people at high risk which include pregnant women and unborn babies, small children, the elderly and people with chronic illnesses or weakened immune systems.
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