Did you know that it is actually better for you to cook your meat at low temperatures for shorter amounts of time? Doing so will decrease the amount of HCAs and PAHs on your meat, both of which are mutagens that can lead to cancer.
Most of us overcook our meat to make sure it is done well enough to eat. But studies have shown that overcooking our meat is bad for us, too! So how do you know when your meat is done? A meat thermometer! Just stick that probe in the meat and read the internal temperature. Here are the basic guideline for the safe temperature to eat certain foods:
Legs and thighs–180°
Ground beef, pork–160°
Ground turkey, chicken–165°
Fish–until opaque and flakes easily with a fork
For the types of of Meat Thermometers:
Dial Oven-Going: Used for large cuts of meat, thermometer to be put in before roasting or grilling. Insert at least 2 inches into center of largest part of meat. Should not touch fat or bone. After it reaches the desired temperature, push it in a little further. If the temp drops, cook longer. If not, the meat is safe to eat. Before eating, wrap meat in foil and let stand for 15 minutes. The temp will rise slightly.
Dial instant read: Insert at least 2 inches into meat. It should read the temp in 15-20 seconds. For thin cuts of meat, insert the thermometer into the side of the meat.
Digital instant-read: Insert 1/2 inch into meat. Should read in about 10 seconds, depending on thermometer. This can be used for large and smaller cuts of meat.