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Here’s a list of most meat cuts and their target temperatures.

Regardless of animal, there are three categories you can assign to cuts of meat, with respect to grilling and temperatures.

The reason for this categorization is of course to get the best possible end result: moist and tender meat, regardless of cut.

  1. Quality cuts, grilled indirect to the right inner temperature, then seared and served. Examples of quality cuts are sirloin, tenderloin and roast beef. They are already ‘tender’, and just need heat. Cook on indirect heat, then reverse sear.
  2. Lesser cuts with good marbling. They are cooked for a long time on low heat, way past their “ready” temperature. This is called low n’ slow. Examples would be pork butt, beef chuck or brisket. Cook on indirect heat way past its ‘done’ temperature.
  3. Lesser lean cuts. They are grilled over direct heat until they hit their target temperature, then rested and served. Examples are flank steak and beef roll. Cook on direct heat until exactly done, and not one degree hotter.

If you’re looking for advice on pork ribs, I have written a dedicated manual for those. The same goes for brisket. Other than that, here are some concrete examples to clarify.

1. Quality cuts

A whole roast beef, which is a ‘fine’ cut, and is tender ‘by itself’. It is placed on the cooler side of the grill (see indirect grilling and the 2 zone setup) until it is 10-15° F below its target temperature. It is then seared on the hot side of the grill. A roast beef has a target temp around 140-150° F.

2. Lesser cuts, well marbled

A pork butt is well marbled. It needs to be cooked for a long time, and to a high target temperature. You run it on the cooler side of the grill (225° F) until it hits 203° F. This is way past the “ready” temperature, but this is done for the fat and collagen to melt. It is also grilled on low heat for a very long time, which helps it stay juicy and moist.

3. Lesser cuts, lean

A flank steak quickly becomes tough and dry if you grill it for too long. Give it a quick grill over direct heat until it reaches its target temperature. Let it rest 10-15 minutes, and serve. The quick direct cook allows it to stay reddish/pink in the middle.

Cooking techniques

In the table below three different techniques are mentioned, here’s a brief explanation:

  • Low ‘n slow – indirect heat, 225-240° F (110-130° C), in an oven or on a grill
  • Hot ‘n fast – direct heat, very hot, either in a frying pan or on a grill
  • Reverse sear – indirect heat first, and then sear at the end. A combination of low ‘n slow followed by hot ‘n fast.

Temperature guide

Below is a list of different meat cuts and recommended target temperature. The temperatures should be seen as a recommendation, if you have other preferences by all means go by them. In general I prefer meat that is pink in the middle (not raw), and that is reflected in the numbers. If you want more well done meat, or medium rare, then adjust up or down accordingly.

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Beef

NameCooking methodTemperature
Top blade steak, flat iron steakHot 'n fast133-136° F / 56-58° C
BrisketLow 'n slow195-203° F / 90-95° C
Flap meat
(obliquus internus)
Hot 'n fast136-140° F / 58-60° C
Flank Steak
(rectus abdominis)
Hot 'n fast136-140° F / 58-60° C
Beef tenderloinLow 'n slow136-140° F / 58-60° C
RibeyeHot 'n fast (sliced)
Low 'n slow (whole)
136-140° F / 58-60° C
Hanger steak, butcher's steakHot 'n fast136-140° F / 58-60° C
Boneless beef inside, topside beef, topside beefHot 'n fast (sliced)
Low 'n slow (whole)
131-135° F / 55-57° C
Picaña, sirloin capHot 'n fast (sliced)
Low 'n slow (whole)
136-140° F / 58-60° C
Beef chuckLow 'n slow195-203° F / 90-95° C
Eye of roundHot 'n fast127-131° F / 53-55° C
T-bone steakReverse sear136-140° F / 58-60° C
Tri tipReverse sear133-136° F / 56-58° C
Shoulder clodLow 'n slow195-203° F / 90-95° C
Beef knuckle/ball tipLow 'n slow133-136° F / 56-58° C
Skirt steak, entrañaHot 'n fast133-136° F / 56-58° C
Sirloin, NY stripHot 'n fast (sliced)
Low 'n slow (whole)
136-140° F / 58-60° C
Boneless beef outsideHot 'n fast (sliced)
Low 'n slow (whole)
133-136° F / 56-58° C
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Pork

NameCooking methodTemperature
Pork tenderloinReverse sear144-149° F / 62-65° C
Pork bellyLow ’n slow195-203° F / 90-95° C
Spare ribsLow ’n slowDo the bend test
baby back ribsLow ’n slowDo the bend test
Pork butt, Boston buttLow ’n slow
Shoulder hock(s)Low ’n slow195-203° F / 90-95° C
Picnic ham, Picnic shoulderLow ’n slow195-203° F / 90-95° C
Ham hock(s)Low ’n slow195-203° F / 90-95° C
HamLow ’n slow150-155° F / 66-68° C
Secreto IbericoLow ’n slow129-133° F / 54-56° C
Pluma IbericoHot 'n fast129-133° F / 54-56° C
Presa IbericoPresa IbericoReverse sear133-136° F / 56-58° C
Pork chopsHot 'n fast (sliced)
Low 'n slow (whole)
147-151° F / 64-66° C
Iberico pork chopsHot 'n fast (sliced)
Low 'n slow (whole)
140-144° F / 60-62° C
Rib roastLow ’n slow147-151° F / 64-66° C
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Lamb

NameCooking methodTemperature
Lamb racksReverse sear133-136° F / 56-58° C
Lamb back strap
Lamb sirloin
Reverse sear136-140° F / 58-60° C
Ground/minced lamb-147-151° F / 64-66° C
Lamb roastLow 'n slow140° F / 60° C
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Chicken

NameCooking methodTemperature
ChickenMedium hot, 300-340° F / 150-170° C158° F / 70° C
Chicken breast(s)Medium hot, 300-340° F / 150-170° C158° F / 70° C
American Chicken WingsHot ’n fast158° F / 70° C
Chicken drumsticksHot ’n fast158° F / 70° C
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Deer (deer, fallow deer, red deer)

NameCooking methodTemperature
Boneless beef inside, topside beefReverse sear129-133° F / 54-56° C
Boneless beef outsideReverse sear133-136° F / 56-58° C
Top/beef rump, ball tipReverse sear129-133° F / 54-56° C
Deer tenderloinReverse sear129-133° F / 54-56° C
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Moose

NameCooking methodTemperature
Boneless beef inside, topside beefReverse sear133-136° F / 56-58° C
Boneless beef outsideReverse sear129-133° F / 54-56° C
Top/beef rump, ball tipReverse sear129-133° F / 54-56° C
Moose tenderloinReverse sear129-133° F / 54-56° C
Moose chuck roastLow 'n slow195-203° F / 90-95° C
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Wild boar

NameCooking methodTemperature
Ground/minced wild boar-144-149° F / 62-65° C
Wild boar hamLow ’n slow149° F / 65° C
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Duck

NameCooking methodTemperature
Duck breast(s)Reverse sear140-144° F / 60-62° C
DuckMedium hot, 300-340° F / 150-170° C140-144° F / 60-62° C
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Fish

NameCooking methodTemperature
SalmonFry on medium heat (smaller pieces)
Low ‘n slow (whole)
126° F / 52° C (I prefer 133-136° F / 56-58° C)
Pike perchFry/bake on medium heat126° F / 52° C
SaitheFry/bake on medium heat126° F / 52° C
HaddockFry/bake on medium heat126° F / 52° C
CodFry/bake on medium heat126° F / 52° C
TunaHot ’n fast93° F /34° C (should have a raw core)