Grilling up a meal that’s done to perfection can be boiled down to two things: temperature and time. Get either one wrong and that juicy, sizzling burger can quickly turn into a hard, dry hockey puck.
Time is the most wily, least reliable of the two. It’s about as accurate as a drunken monkey throwing darts. The type of grill you’re using… the fuel your burning… the thickness of the cut of meat you’re grilling…
and even the weather can all drastically affect the amount of time it takes for your grill to get to – and maintain – the proper heat.
Next there’s grill temperature. While not quite as unpredictable as time, it can be just as devious. That thermometer that came mounted in the lid of your grill will lie to you every chance it gets. It’s inches away from the your food (meaning it can’t possibly how hot your steak really is…) and constant exposure to smoke, dust, humidity, and possibly even bitter cold winter temperatures can quickly throw it out of calibration.
That leaves FOOD temperature. The internal temp of you food will be more honest with you than a saint strung out on truth serum. Think about it – a steak with an internal temp of130° F will always be medium rare no matter how long it took to get there or how hot your grill was.
Bottom line: timing your food will always be the least accurate way to determine doneness and checking its internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer will always be the most foolproof.
That being being said, there are two sets of temperature guidelines that will get you close enough in the ball park to plate a decent meal: one with the FDA/USDA recommended times and temps and the one most chefs go by – both are shown below.
However, if you really want to show off your grilling skills you can check out the following links for more specific details, times, and instructions for the particular cuts of meat and veggies :
- How long do you grill hamburgers
- How long do you grill ribs
- How long do you grill steaks
- How long do you grill chicken
Internal Temperatures According to Chefs Standards
|Rare||Medium Rare||Medium||Medium Well||Well Done|
|Beef, Lamb, Veal||120°-125°F||125°-135°F||134°-145°F||145°-155°F||155° F|
|Poultry: light meat||--||--||--||165° F||180° F|
|Poultry: thighs, wings||--||--||--||175° F||180° F|
FDA Recommended Safe Food Temperatures
|Ground veal, beef, lamb, pork||--||--||160°F|
|Poultry: breast, drumsticks||--||--||180°F|
|Poultry: thighs||--||--||Until juice runs clear|
|Fresh ham shoulder||--||--||160°F|