Use proper cooking temperatures to ensure safe food. Sounds simple enough right? Well, ensuring safety procedures in a restaurant setting is the vain of a chef’s existence sometimes. There are so many factors that play into the workings of a kitchen when it’s dinner rush and the staff is scurrying about to prepare and serve meals. But no matter what is happening, it is of upmost importance to make sure the food is cooked to the proper temperature to avoid making any customers ill. Much like a doctor worries about malpractice suits, a chef is constantly worried about an unhappy customer sharing their negative experiences with the public.
Okay, for us home cooks it may not be as serious as I describe above, but nonetheless safety procedures and correct cooking temperatures are still important in our own kitchens. I highly recommend printing off a temperature chart like the one below and keeping it close at hand in your own kitchen.
Be sure to cook meat to the following temperatures for safety. These temps refer to a minimum internal temperature.
165 degrees: Poultry (whole and ground), Stuffed meat, seafood, poultry or pasta
155 degrees: Ground meat – including beef, pork and other meat; Injected meat – including brined hame and flavor-injected roasts; Ground seafood – including chopped or minced seafood
145 degrees: Seafood – including fish, shellfish and crustaceans; Steak/chops of pork, beef, veal and lamb; Roasts of pork, beef, veal and lamb
135 degrees: Commercially, processed, ready-to-eat food (i.e. cheese sticks, deep-fried veggies); Fruit, vegetables, grains (rice, pasta, etc) and legumes (beans, refried beans)
To help ensure these safety measures in your own kitchen, purchase a digital thermometer. It’s one of the best culinary investments you can make! There are many varieties to choose from but just know it doesn’t have to be expensive to be sufficient in monitoring temperatures. I’ve been using a low-priced version for about five years and it’s still going strong.