When it comes to cooking up our favorite dishes, preparing the meat can truly be a joy. From choosing the cut to thawing and marinating, creating our most beloved foods is truly a treat.
When it comes to meat, however, there can be some very serious consequences if the food is undercooked. From the terrifying possibility of contracting salmonella from inadequately cooked chicken to developing the dreaded trichinosis from undercooked pork and a variety of other unsavory and painful conditions, ensuring that your meat is cooked is vital.
So how can you be absolutely sure that the meat you’re cooking is safely done?
We’ve put together a list of the three top ways to tell if your food is cooked enough to be safe for human consumption.
Use your Thermometer
While there are a variety of ways to test, the thermometer is by far the most accurate and reliable. In large cuts from pork shoulders to whole turkeys and chickens and thick steaks such as prime rib, thermometers allow you get really get in there and obtain an accurate reading of the internal temperature.
When using a meat thermometer, be very sure to insert the probe into the center of the meat and take care to avoid touching any bones, which could result in inaccuracies. When checking on thin slices of meat, simply put the probe in through the side and the thermometer will work like a charm!
One of the best inventions on the market today is the digital thermometer, which stays in the food the entire time it’s cooking and lets you know when the meat reaches the preset temperature you’ve chosen. If you can get your hands on one of these beauties, your meat is guaranteed to be perfectly done time and again.
Check out this great meat temperature chart, made by the guys over at www.forfoodsmokers.co.uk.
This test is perfect for those foods that you have trouble seeing into or that are too thick for you to be able to see into the middle. From hefty veggies such as sweet potatoes and squash to fish fillets or thinner cuts of steak, the piercing method works very well provided you do it right.
Simply insert your metal prong into the middle of the food and feel for the level of resistance you encounter. If there is none, you’re golden, if you can’t get the metal through easily, you need to cook longer.
Sensory testing is by far the most fun because who doesn’t love to smell their savory dishes and feast their eyes in anticipation on the tasty meal to come? From simply checking out the food to be sure it looks done to taking a good solid whiff to ensure your food has that delicious ‘ready’ smell, using your senses can go a long way toward helping you be sure your favorite dishes are done and ready to devour.
An old favorite for steaks is the finger test, by which you compare the firmness of your meat with that of your hands. Read more here.
Ensuring that your food is properly cooked is essential to feeding those you love without making everyone sick; from using your handy thermometer to checking resistance, and of course using your senses to check on the doneness of your food, there are a variety of ways to play it safe and be sure that your gourmet cooking is appropriately cooked.