Grill Temperatures and Meat Temperatures: What You Need to Know
Cooking on a grill is one of the best activities of summer. Grilled food has a unique, fresh taste that other types of preparation can’t quite match. To make your grilled food perfect, it’s vital to know the different temperatures needed for both the grill and the meats themselves. With the right knowledge, you can cook all kinds of meat on your grill, or even cook meat and vegetables at the same time without burning or undercooking one.
For most steaks, you’ll need a grill that can get up to about 650 degrees. To sear, you should place the steak over high heat for one minute on each side with the grill lid closed before transferring the meat to indirect heat, again with the lid closed. More specific temperatures depend on how you like your steak.
A 1.5 inch rare filet mignon should be cooked for three minutes on each side at a temperature between 110 and 120. A medium sirloin, porterhouse, or ribeye should be cooked at a temperature between 130 and 140 for six minutes per side. Remember that the rarer your steak, the bloodier its inside. Make sure all meat is cooked adequately.
Ground beef should always have an internal temperature of 160. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends using a food thermometer and double checking your beef after it leaves the grill. Beef should never have a red or pink center, but this sometimes happens even when it has reached its ideal internal temperature. The safe internal temperature for lamb and veal is officially 145 degrees, but again, check against a food thermometer. Don’t be afraid to leave these meats on the grill a bit longer.
Grilling vegetables can be tough because they burn or undercook so easily. However, there are little tricks you can use depending on the vegetable. For example, onions and eggplant may do better if cut into rounds. Some people like to use a grilling basket to protect veggies from burning or falling between the grill slats. Some vegetables have specific grilling times; for example, mushrooms should be grilled over direct heat, 3-6 minutes per side.
Others, like potatoes, are a bit trickier because a warm outside and raw inside can result. It may be best to oven bake your potato for about an hour first. After that, place potatoes over indirect heat on a closed grill for 40-60 minutes. Potatoes cut into rounds or French fry-like strips may grill faster. If you’re grilling a whole potato, be sure to turn it frequently.
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