University of Minnesota Extension
www.extension.umn.edu
612-624-1222
Menu Menu

Extension > Food > Food Safety > Preserving and Preparing > Meat and Fish > Got a Grill? Get a Thermometer!

Meat and Fish

Got a Grill? Get a Thermometer!

Suzanne Driessen, Extension Educator — Food Safety

Reviewed 2013.

United States Department of Agriculture

Safe food handling is always important—but grilling brings special challenges. Grilling browns food on the outside but is it done on the inside? A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) study found 1 out of 4 hamburgers looked done on the outside but hadn't reached the safe cooking temperature of 160°F on the inside. The color of the meat doesn't mean it has reached a safe temperature needed to rid of bacteria that could make you and your family sick. The only way to know if your grilled food is safe to eat is to use a food thermometer.

Thermometers are easy to use and take the guesswork out of grilling. For burgers, the thin stemmed food thermometer works well. Insert it sideways into the burger. Remember to clean the thermometer with hot soapy water, rinse and air dry, after each use.

Approximate Grilling Times and Temperatures for Meat and Poultry

Always use a food thermometer to be sure meats and poultry are cooked to a safe internal temperature and doneness. New research conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) indicates that the color of the meat is not a reliable indicator that meat has reached a temperature high enough to destroy harmful bacteria that may be present. For approximate cooking times for use in meal planning, see the following chart compiled from various resources. Times are based on meat at refrigerator temperatures. Remember that outdoor grills can vary in heat. When using a barbecue sauce, apply during the last 15 to 30 minutes of grilling to prevent excess browning or burning.

NOTE: When using indirect heat (smoking), the grill must be covered with its lid.

Print this chart (203 K PDF)

Item Size Grilling time Internal temp in ° F
BEEF
Steaks 3/4" thick 3 to 4 min./side
4 to 5 min./side
Medium rare 145
Medium 160
Kabobs 1-inch cubes 3 to 4 min./side 145 to 160
Hamburger patties 1/2" thick 3 min. per side 160
Roast, rolled rump (indirect heat)
sirloin tip (indirect heat)
4 to 6 lbs.
3 1/2 to 4 lbs.
18 to 22 min./lb.
20 to 25 min./lb.
145 to 160
Ribs, Back cut in 1-rib portions 10 min./side 160
Tenderloin Half, 2 to 3 lbs.
Whole, 4 to 6 lbs.
10 to 12 min./side
12 to 15 min./side
Medium rare 145
Medium 160
HAM
Fully cooked (indirect heat) any size 8 to 10 min./lb. 140
Cook-before-eating (indirect heat) Whole, 10 to 14 lbs.
Half, 5 to 7 lbs.
Portion, 3 to 4 lbs.
10 to 15 min./lb.
12 to 18 min./lb.
30 to 35 min./lb.
160
LAMB
Chops, shoulder, loin, or rib 1" thick 5 min./side 145 to 160
Steaks, sirloin, or leg 1" thick 5 min./side 145 to 160
Kabobs 1" cubes 4 min./side 145 to 160
Patties, ground 4 oz., 1/2" thick 3 min./side 160
Leg, butterflied 4 to 7 lbs. 40 to 50 min. total 145 to 160
OSTRICH or EMU
Fan filets, steaks, or kabobs 3/4" thick 3 min./side Medium rare 145
Patties, ground 1/2" thick 3 min./side 160
PORK, Fresh
Chops, bone-in or boneless 3/4" thick
1 1/2" thick
3 to 4 min./side
7 to 8 min./side
Medium 160
Tenderloin 1/2 to 1 1/2 lbs. 15 to 25 min. total Medium 160
Ribs (indirect heat) 2 to 4 lbs. 1 1/2 to 2 hrs. 160
Patties, ground 1/2" thick 4 to 5 min./side 160
VEAL
Chops, steaks 1" thick 5 to 7 min./side 145 to 160
Roast, boneless (indirect heat) 2 to 3 lbs. 18 to 20 min./lb. 145 to 160
VENISON
Roast, saddle, or leg 6 to 7 lbs. 25 to 30 min./lb. 145 to 160
Steaks 3/4" thick 4 to 5 min./side
6 to 7 min./side
Medium rare 145
Medium 160
*   CHICKEN
Whole (indirect heat), not stuffed
broiler fryer
roasting hen
Capon
Cornish hens
 
3 to 4 lbs.
5 to 7 lbs.
4 to 8 lbs.
18 to 24 oz.
 
60 to 75 min.
18 to 25 min./lb.
15 to 20 min./lb.
45 to 55 min.
180 as measured in the thigh
Breast halves, bone-in
boneless
6 to 8 oz. each
4 oz. each
10 to 15 min./side
6 to 8 min./side
170
Patties, ground 1/2" thick 6 to 8 min./side 165
Other parts: Legs or thighs
Drumsticks
Wings, wingettes
4 to 8 oz.
4 oz.
2 to 3 oz.
10 to 15 min./side
8 to 12 min./side
8 to 12 min./side
180
*   DUCK or GOOSE
Duckling, whole (indirect heat)
Quartered (indirect heat)
Quartered (indirect heat) 2 1/2 hrs.
1 hr., 25 min.
180 to 185
Goose, whole (indirect heat) 8 to 12 lbs. 18 to 20 min./lb. 180 to 185
*   TURKEY
Whole turkey (indirect heat) 8 to 12 lbs.
12 to 16 lbs.
16 to 24 lbs.
2 to 3 hrs.
3 to 4 hrs.
Not recommended
180 as measured in the thigh
Breast, bone-in
boneless
4 to 7 lbs.
2 3/4 to 3 1/2 lbs.
1 to 1 3/4 hrs.
Not recommended
170
Thighs, drumsticks (indirect heat)
Direct heat (pre-cook 1 hr.)
8 to 16 oz. 1 1/2 to 2 hrs.
8 to 10 min./side
180
Boneless turkey roll (indirect heat) 2 to 5 lbs.
5 to 10 lbs.
1 1/2 to 2 hrs.
2 to 3 1/2 hrs.
170 to 175
Patties, ground 1/2" thick 6 to 3 8 min./side 165

* Safe cooking temperature for poultry was lowered to 165° F in 2006. However, for best flavor and quality, 170° F to 180° F is recommended.

Sources

Related Resources

  • © 2014 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
  • The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Privacy