Just in case you haven’t picked up on it, The Texan is from Texas. West Texas to be exact. Lots of cattle ranches and meat eating happen out there. Despite my lengthy career in the restaurant industry, I have had a hard time remembering what the proper temperatures for cooked meats is. Please tell me you forget things that you used to know like the back of your hand, too!
I did a little research a discovered that the minimum temperatures for fully cooked meats is much lower than I thought. 140°F for beef and 145°F for pork. Keep in mind, that when your meat reaches this minimum temperature, it’s going to still be reddish – pink. It is safe to eat beef and pork, despite the coloring, as long as they’ve reached the minimum temperature when checked by a meat thermometer.
If you are starting with “raw” uncooked beef or pork, these minimum temperatures for cooked meats varies depending on cut. For Pork Chops, Pork Roasts, Beef Steaks, and Beef Roast the minimum temperature is 145°F. Ground Pork and Ground Beef need to achieve a minimum temperature of 160°F.
When cooking meats, you always want to use a meat thermometer to check the temperature. Insert a clean meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, not resting in fat or touching a bone. Fat does not achieve the same temperature as meat, and the bone will skew your reading as well.
To ensure your steaks, roasts, and chops do not dry out while cooking, turn them tongs. Using a fork will pierce the meat and cause the juices to escape. When turning ground beef or ground pork, use a spatula and AVOID pressing down on the patties. Pressing down allows the juices to escape, and who wants to eat a dry burger?