Meat Cooking Times and Temperatures

A perfectly prepared meat dish is a result of the perfect combination of several factors: a quality piece of meat to start with, the right cooking method and the know-how required for cooking meat at the right temperatures for the right amount of time. Whether baking or grilling meats--including beef, pork and lamb---it is important to take into consideration the cut as well as the size. In addition, rather than relying on the outside appearance of a cooked piece of meat, it is vital to check the internal temperature before serving any meat dish.

Meat Cooking Times and Temperatures

Roast Beef

Baking meat is an easy preparation method and allows the cook to attend to the side dishes once the main dish is in the oven. Some common cuts of beef, with examples of their typical weights, should be baked as follows. A standing rib roast that weighs 6 to 8 lbs. should roast for 23 to 30 minutes per lb. in a 300- to 325-degree oven. Sirloin tip roasts weighing 4 lbs. should bake at 325 degrees for 35 minutes per lb. for rare and 40 minutes per lb. for well done. A 4- to 5-lb. rolled rump roast needs to bake in a 325-degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes per lb. A whole tenderloin weighing in at 5 lbs. should cook in a 425-degree oven for 45 to 70 minutes. Tenderloins should only be cooked rare, medium rare or medium; they are generally too tough if cooked until they are well done.

Grilled Beef

Grill beef over a medium high heat source and serve it anywhere from rare to well done. A 3/4-inch thick ribeye steak and 1-inch thick strip steaks should each cook five to nine minutes on each side. For 1-inch porterhouse, ribeye, and t-bone steaks, grill from six to 11 minutes per side. Hamburger patties that weigh 6 ozs. usually take from four to eight minutes on each side.

Roast Lamb

A 7-lb. whole leg of lamb should bake for 15 to 30 minutes per pound depending on how done you want it. A 3 lb. crown roast should bake from 20 to 35 minutes per pound and a 6-lb. shoulder roast should bake for 20 to 30 minutes per pound. The oven temperature for lamb should be 325 degrees.

Grilled Lamb

Lamb should be grilled over high heat. One-inch thick lamb chops should grill between five and 10 minutes per side. Lamb steaks that are 1 inch thick should cook for five minutes on each side. A 7-lb. butterflied leg of lamb will take 40 to 50 minutes on the grill.

Roast Pork

Set your oven at 350 degrees for roasting most cuts of pork. Pork loin roast, crown roast and shoulder roasts bake for 20 minutes per pound. A pork tenderloin should roast in a 425-degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes and a rack of pork ribs will take two hours in a 450-degree oven.

Grilled Pork

Bone-in and boneless pork chops that are 3/4-inch thick should grill for eight minutes per side, and a 1-lb. pork tenderloin needs to be grilled for 15 minutes. A 5- to 8-pound pork shoulder or picnic shoulder should grill for 30 to 35 minutes per pound. Grilled smoked ham should be heated through for eight to 10 minutes per pound.

Internal Temperatures

Investing in a good meat thermometer takes the guesswork out of figuring out when the meat is done. No matter what method is used to prepare pork, the internal temperature should be 160 degrees. Baked lamb and beef should be cooked to 145 degrees for medium rare, 160 degrees for medium and 170 degrees for well done. Internal temperature for rare beef should be 140 degrees or 170 degrees for well done. Cook lamb to 145 degrees for medium-rare and 170 degrees for well done.

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