HEAT IT: Safe/Recommended Meat Cooking Temperatures



Many people who prepare meat are very knowledgeable about food safety, but sometimes the specifics can be hard to recall. For that reason, you may cook “by eye”– judging your meat’s doneness only by the colour of the flesh or its juices. The experts here at D’Arcy’s always follow Health Canada guidelines, cooking our meat to temperature and measuring with an instant-read thermometer. Keep reading for a list of temperatures and what to expect from your meat!


63°C (145°F)

Only whole cuts and pieces of beef, lamb or veal should be served at this temperature– and only if you want them medium-rare (brown through the edges, slightly pink in the middle). Steaks and cutlets should be turned at least twice to ensure even cooking.

71°C (160°F)

This temperature is the bare minimum for pork pieces and whole cuts– think ribs, loins, hams, and chops. It is also where your cuts of beef, lamb, and veal will reach medium doneness (no sign of pink). Any ground meat dishes like casseroles or burgers should be cooked to at least this temperature, excluding those made with poultry.

74°C (165°F)

This is the temperature to which you should cook any ground poultry, such as turkey or chicken. Also, this should be your minimum when preparing chicken parts, sides like stuffing or even egg dishes. This threshold is also a good rule of thumb for most game meat and fowl, as long as it is cooked in parts, ground mixtures, roasts, steaks or chops. Whole small animals such as rabbit and shellfish can also be safely eaten at this temperature. Even the lowly hot dog is less likely to make you sick if you bring it up to this level.

77°C (170°F)

If your thermometer hits this number while inserted into veal, lamb or beef– you have a “well done” piece of meat! While not as en vogue as the more “rare” alternatives, many people enjoy a thoroughly cooked cut.

82°C (180°F)

Preparing a whole chicken, turkey, duck, goose or game bird? Remove all doubt by waiting until an instant-read thermometer reads out this temperature when inserted into the thickest parts of the flesh. Avoid bones and cavities when taking the measurement, as this may cause an incorrect reading.

While cooking is all about personal taste, there are food safety standards in place to keep us eating delicious meals for many years to come. Do not take a chance on something that “looks done” when every home chef can acquire the necessary tools and knowledge relatively cheaply and easily. Questions? Concerns? Visit or contact the pros at D’Arcy’s today!

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