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Meat Temperature Cooking Chart

“Meat Temperature Cooking ChartMeat Temperature Cooking Chart

The best, most accurate way of cooking meat is by measuring the internal temperature with a meat probe and then correlating the temperatures from the meat temperature cooking chart to what your desired result is.  But its also very important to get the right grade of meat as well as the right product for the desired end result.

The US Department of Agriculture says the following meat temperature cooking chart will produce safely cooked, but still flavorful meats:


Internal Temp.

Fresh ground beef, veal, lamb, pork


Beef, veal, lamb roasts, steaks, chops: medium rare


Beef, veal, lamb roasts, steaks, chops: medium


Beef, veal, lamb roasts, steaks, chops: well done


Fresh pork roasts, steaks, chops: medium


Fresh pork roasts, steaks, chops: well done



I personally have never seen steaks cooked with this meat temperature cooking chart turn out flavorful and juicy.  Unless you like dry, flavorless, powdery meat . . . don’t follow this meat temperature cooking chart.

This meat cooking temperature chart on the other hand is what we have always used in the restaurants and hotels:

Chef Shawn’s Meat temperature cooking chart meat temperature cooking chart

Bleu – 110 degrees (or much less) – This is how the old cattle ranchers like their steaks. Literally just put marks on the outside of it and send it out.  The middle is usually still cold.  Not cool, cold.meat temperature cooking chart

Rare – 120-125 degrees – Cool red center, juicy, and not for the faint-at-heart.  The middle is a very deep red.

M. Rare – 130 degrees – Deep Pink center with flowing red juices, my personal favorite of all the temperatures on the meat temperature cooking chart.

Medium – 135 – 140 degrees – Nice warm consistent pink-colored center, a good “all purpose” temperature.  Not overdone, still nice and juicy.

M. Well – 145 – 150 degrees – Little bit of pink in it, but definitely lacking on the juiciness.  A good segway into good meat for those who will only it “well done.”  A good temperature for burgers and other ground beef items.meat temperature cooking chart

Well – 160 degrees (or more) – Don’t do it, its a mistake.

Now, for those of you who don’t want to use the meat temperature cooking chart or poke the meat a probe, you can check the meat’s doneness this way too.

 meat temperature cooking chart


This is an important part of cooking any meat, mostly because you can’t start with an average product and get above average results.  There are basically 3 different categories that you will find meat (specifically beef) broken down into.

Prime – (less than 2% of all beef) Steak Houses like Ruth’s Chris and high-end foodservice outlets (Costco is starting to carry this).  Don’t over cook! (Refer to the meat temperature cooking chart for specifics)meat temperature cooking chart

Choice – Standard for almost all foodservice outlets, Costco carries this and that’s why I buy my meat there.  Don’t over cook! (Refer to the meat temperature cooking chart for specifics)

Select – Most grocery stores will carry this, some foodservice outlets . . . This is what Taco Bell uses for their steak . . . Especially don’t over cook this! (Refer to the meat temperature cooking chart for specifics)


What cuts do I use for grilling and broiling?meat temperature cooking chart

Steak and FlameSteaks with a lot of good marbling work best.  Marbling is the little fat streaks you see within the muscle tissue, not the big chunks of fat you see around the edge.  We call that . . . Well . . .Fat.

The meat is naturally tender and requires less cooking time to reach a nice consistency.

Examples: Tenderloin, Ribeye, New York, Top Sirloin                 (My Favorites)


 meat temperature cooking chart

What cuts do I use for roasting and braising?

Larger cheaper cuts of meat that have more connective tissue and are naturally tough, won’t generally fall into the temperature used on the meat temperature cooking chart because these meats generally require more cooking time.  My thoughts, if we are going to just cook the meat until it disolves the connective tissues so that the meat just falls apart, why buy the expensive stuff if it’s just going to come out the same?  That’s why these cuts of meat don’t fall under the meat temperature cooking chart.

Examples: roasts (chuck, rump), brisket, etc.

There you have it, a meat temperature cooking chart and some pointers to making some great meat.  So use this meat temperature cooking chart as a guide and get creative!

Like what you see with the meat temperature cooking chart?  Check out  all The First Timers Books & DVDir?t=httpwwwfirs09 20&l=ur2&o=1 - Meat Temperature Cooking Chart

Get the meat temperature cooking chart in The First Timer’s Cookbook, DVD or both right here!

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About the author, Shawn

Chef Shawn has worked in almost every segment of the foodservice industry. He holds business degrees and certificates in Culinary Arts, Hospitality & Tourism Management, Accounting and Professional Sales. He is Certified Executive Chef (CEC) and a Certified Culinary Educator (CCE) through The American Culinary Federation. A Certified Culinary Professional (CCP) through the International Association of Culinary Professionals. He is the author of The First Timer’s Cookbook and The First Timer’s Bakebook. His work has been recognized nationwide as well as being a regular contributor to numerous food service publications and outlets and is the recipient of numerous awards-most recently the 2015 Culinary Educator of the Year through the local American Culinary Federation’s chapter-Beehive State Chef’s Association.

He the owner of multiple food service businesses and currently the host of the Business Chef Podcast.


  1. Cooking Steak - First Timers Cookbook on 08/04/2011 at 8:58 PM

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