There are many ways to check for doneness and your mileage may vary, but becoming proficient at doneness is a key to cooking success. Timing helps, but with all of the variability of cooking systems, you must rely on your own tests of doneness.
- Jiggled brisket should jiggle like jello when done.
- Pork and lamb shoulder blade bones should pull out easily when done.
- If you can shred pork, chicken or mutton when doing a slow cook, it's done.
- If you can pierce brisket or large slow cooked meat with the handle of a wooden spoon or a (gloved) finger, it's done.
- Ribs should bend an break when done.
- The meat on ribs should shrink when done. ¼ - ½ inches for baby back ribs, ½ - 1 inches for spare ribs and 1 - 1½ inches for beef back ribs.
- Fish, such as salmon, should flake when pressed with a finger when done.
- Potatoes, onions and similar vegetables can be tested with a skewer. They can also be squeezed.
- Finger test of meat doneness is to use your finger to press a steak to check for doneness. Compare to the firmness of the flesh below your thumb on the palm of your hand. The flesh changes firmness from raw - open hand, well-done - thumb on pinkie, medium - thumb on ring finger, medium-rare - thumb on middle finger, rare - thumb on index finger. Photos are on a Simply Recipes web page about it.
|Doneness||Internal Temp||Type of Meat|
|Rare (beef, lamb)||120°-125°F||Reverse-seared steaks and tri-tip, prime rib, beef tenderloin|
|Medium-rare (beef, lamb)||130°-135°F||Reverse-seared steaks and tri-tip, prime rib, beef tenderloin|
|Medium (seafood)||140°-145°F||Fish, shellfish|
|Medium (beef, lamb, pork)||145°-150°F||Beef, pork loin, chops, tenderloin, leg and rack of lamb|
|Medium (ground meat)||160°F||Hamburgers, sausage, bratwurst, pork roast pork|
|Medium||165°F||Chicken, turkey, duck, ground poultry (poultry, pork ribs)|
|Medium-well||170°-180°F||Chicken, turkey, duck, goose, pork ribs (poultry, pork)|
|Well||195°-205°F||Brisket, pork or lamb shoulder, any meat you plan to pull or shred|
- Project Smoke by Steven Raichlen