Thanks to our buddy, Rob Russell, of the Ace of Hearts BBQ Specialties, LLC, for sending us this valuable information on the USDA’s Recommendations for the safe minimum internal temperatures for grilling, and smoking meats.

USDA Recommended Safe Minimum Internal Temperatures

Steaks & Roasts           145 °F

Fish                              160 °F

Pork                             160 °F

Ground Beef                 160 °F

Chicken Breasts           165 °F

Whole Poultry              165 °F 

Keep in mind these safety tips that work well for me: 

  • Use a good instant read digital thermometer.
  • Always check in the deepest part of the meat
  • Refrain from probing the meat in more than one hole; you can move directional through the same hole to check different areas.  Two many holes loose all your juices.
  • All meats will raise 5 degrees after resting on the counter.
  • Keep in mind that although it is safe to eat meats at a certain temperature, it doesn’t mean it will be tender at that temperature.  For instance, brisket and pork butt or shoulder for pulled pork should be cooked to 200 °F internal meat temperature.  You can’t pull apart pork at 185 °F
  • Pork loin or tenderloin will be dry out at temps above 160 °F. Internal meat temperature.
  • You can stall meat at temperatures above 150 °F for several hours.  I would not go over 170 °F or you are cooking it more.
  • Sliced brisket that is left out in open air will start drying out in 15 minutes, cover it up.
  • Only cut what you intend to use off of a piece of meat, it will retain more of its natural moisture in the refrigerator unsliced.