Is It Done Yet?

Is It Done Yet?

The Artistic Method or The Scientific Method

The only remotely tricky part about barbecuing and grilling is knowing when the meat is done. Aficionados use the "poke" method, which is surprisingly accurate when used by a seasoned griller, but for bigger cuts of meat, nothing beats the "scientific" method for assessing doneness.

The Artistic Method

The touch and poke method is best for testing the doneness of steaks, chops, chicken breasts, and fish fillets. Press the thickest part of the steak or chop with your finger. When rare, it will feel soft and yielding, a bit like the flesh between your thumb and forefinger, when you bring them loosely together.

When it is medium, the meat will feel slightly resistant - like the flesh between your thumb and forefinger when you make a loose fist.

When well done, the meat will feel resistant and springy - like the flesh between your thumb and forefinger when you make a tight fist.

To test a whole chicken, insert a trussing needle or skewer into the thickest part of the thigh, the juices should come out clear. You can also try wiggling the drumstick, it should feel very loose. Or make a cut between the leg and the body. There should be no redness at the joint, unless you are smoking the chicken, smoking imparts a natural pink color to meats.

To test fish for doneness, press the thick part with your finger. the flesh should break into large, firm flakes and should pull away from the bone quite easily.

The Scientific Method

What about large cuts of meats.The real test is to check the internal temperature with an instant read meat thermometer. This device is avilable at any cookware/BBQ shop. Insert it into the thickest part of the meat, but without touching any bones. Here is a broad guide to doneness:

Beef and Lamb

Rare - 140°

Medium rare - 150°

Medium - 160°

Well done - 170°

Pork

Rare - 150°

Medium - 160°

Well done - 170°

Chicken and Turkey

Medium - 160°

Well done - 170°