For most people, getting the proper temperature is the most difficult part of cooking meat. Overcooking leads to dried out meat and disappointing results. And undercooking can cause foodborne illness.
The best way to ensure that you get perfect results is to buy a good thermometer. I recommend buying an instant-read version for the most reliable results.
I have listed the USDA safe minimum internal temperature and the temperature that the Food Network recommends for beef, veal and lamb cooked for personal preference.
I recommend that you print out this chart, put it in a plastic sheet protector and keep it in your kitchen for reference.
Some of the digital thermometers I recommend are here:
Digital Meat Thermometer with Instant Read – Thin Stainless Steel Probe for Cooking and Grilling Food to Perfection
|Category||Food||USDA SAFE Temperature (°F)||Food Network||Rest Time|
|Ground Meat & Meat Mixtures||Beef, Pork, Veal, Lamb||160||None|
|Fresh Beef, Veal, Lamb||Steaks, roasts, chops||145||Rare 125||3 minutes|
|Medium Well 145||3 minutes|
|Stuffing (cooked alone or in bird)||165||None|
|Pork and Ham||Fresh pork||145||3 minutes|
|Fresh ham (raw)||145||3 minutes|
|Precooked ham (to reheat)||Reheat cooked hams packaged in USDA-inspected plants to 140 °F and all others to 165 °F||None|
|Eggs & Egg Dishes||Eggs||Cook until yolk and white are firm||None|
|Leftovers & Casseroles||165||None|
|Seafood||Fin Fish||145 or cook until flesh is opaque and separates easily with a fork.||130-135||None|