Having your meat fully cooked is always the goal in the kitchen. Undercooked meat is a risk you don’t want to take, and you should always have the best texture and flavor possible. You also don’t want to visually ruin the meat you’re cooking in the process of checking if it’s cooked.
Cooking times can vary depending on the type of meat which includes chicken, steaks, pork, turkey, fish, and more. There are various methods people use to check if their meat is ready, we’ll go over them now.
One common method is the finger test. It involves using the bottom part of your hand and comparing it to what raw meat feels like.
If you don’t want to get your hands involved, you can simply use a visual test to check if you’re meat is cooked to your preference.
- Amount Of Pink Color- The amount of pink you see in the meat when it’s cooking can determine how cooked it is. If the inside of the meat has no pink color and has a brownish color to it, then it’s well done. If it has a slight brown color but still has some pink left then it’s medium done. Then for a medium rare or rare cooked meat, just wait for some of the pink to reduce to your preference.
- Juices Color- Using the flat side of a fork, press down on the meat, and if the juices that come out are clear, it’s cooked. If the juices are cloudy, the meat is somewhat cooked but could still use more time. Then if the juices are completely pink it’s raw/rare.
Some deem a meat temperature probe as the most accurate way to tell if your meat is cooked, but it all depends on your preference. Temperature probes measures the internal temperature of meat. We carry meat thermometers to measure your meat’s internal temperature.
When measuring the internal temperature, make sure to stick the probe in the middle of the thickest part of the meat, where there’s no bone or gristle if possible. There’s a minimum internal temperature your meat has to reach to be considered cooked, and after it reaches that minimum temperature you can continue to cook it if you prefer. However, you can remove the heating source from the meat when it reaches at least 5 degrees below the minimum temperature, as the internal temperature continues to rise for about 5-10 minutes during the resting period.
*MIT= Minimum Internal Temperature
- Beef (Rare) MIT: 130 ° F
- Beef (Medium Rare) MIT: 135 ° F
- Beef (Medium Well) MIT: 155 ° F
- Beef (Well Done) MIT: 170 ° F
- Lamb MIT: 145 ° F
- Ham MIT: 145 ° F
- Poultry MIT: 165 ° F
- Fish MIT: 145 ° F
The methods we’ve provided for checking when meat is done are all just options for you to choose from, and none are necessarily better than the other. If you prefer not to have your hands as messy, the visual test or temperature probe method would be more suitable.
But if you don't trust your eyesight, the finger test or temperature probe method would be the better options. You could even combine two or all of the methods together if you think it could give you the best accuracy. Determine which method fits your personal preference and the meal you’re preparing.