Meat Cuts

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

Jump straight to beef, pork, lamb, chicken, deer, moose, wild boar, duck, fish.

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.

Jump straight to beef, pork, lamb, chicken, deer, moose, wild boar, duck, fish.

Beef

Name Cooking method Temperature
Flank steak

(rectus abdominus)

Hot ‘n fast 133-136° F / 56-58° C
T-bone steak Reverse sear 136-140° F / 58-60° C
Flap meat

(obliquus internus)

Hot ‘n fast 136-140° F / 58-60° C
Top blade steak, flat iron steak Hot ‘n fast 136-140° F / 58-60° C
Sirloin Hot ‘n fast (sliced),

Low ‘n slow (whole)

136-140° F / 58-60° C
Boneless beef outside Hot ‘n fast (sliced)

Low ‘n slow (whole)

133-136° F / 56-58° C
Boneless beef inside, topside beef Hot ‘n fast (sliced)

Low ‘n slow (whole)

131-135° F / 55-57° C
Beef knuckle Low ‘n slow 133-136° F / 56-58° C
Beef tenderloin Hot ‘n fast (sliced)

Low ‘n slow (whole)

136-140° F / 58-60° C
Hanger steak, butcher’s steak Hot ‘n fast 136-140° F / 58-60° C
Eye of round Hot ‘n fast 127-131° F / 53-55° C
Beef chuck Low ‘n slow 194-203° F / 90-95° C
Skirt steak, entraña Hot ‘n fast 133-136° F / 56-58° C
Ribeye  Hot ‘n fast (sliced)

Low ‘n slow (whole)

136-140° F / 58-60° C
Picaña, sirloin cap Hot ‘n fast (sliced)

Low ‘n slow (whole)

136-140° F / 58-60° C
Brisket Low ‘n slow 194-203° F / 90-95° C
Shoulder clod Low ‘n slow (whole) 194-203° F / 90-95° C

Jump straight to beef, pork, lamb, chicken, deer, moose, wild boar, duck, fish.

Pork

Name  Cooking method Temperature
Pork tenderloin  Reverse sear 144-149° F / 62-65° C
Pork belly Low ‘n slow 194-203° F / 90-95° C
Spare ribs Low ‘n slow Do the bend test
Baby back ribs Low ‘n slow Do the bend test
Pork butt, boston butt Low ‘n slow 194-203° F / 90-95° C
Shoulder hock(s) Low ‘n slow 194-203° F / 90-95° C
Picnic ham, picnic shoulder Low ‘n slow 194-203° F / 90-95° C
Ham hock(s) Low ‘n slow 194-203° F / 90-95° C
Ham Low ‘n slow 150-155° F / 66-68° C
Secreto iberico Hot ‘n fast 129-133° F / 54-56° C
Pork chops Hot ‘n fast (sliced)

Low ‘n slow (whole)

147-151° F / 64-66° C
Iberico pork chops Hot ‘n fast (sliced)

Low ‘n slow (whole)

140-144° F / 60-62° C
Rib roast Low ‘n slow 151-154° F / 66-68° C

Jump straight to beef, pork, lamb, chicken, deer, moose, wild boar, duck, fish.

Lamb

Name  Cooking method Temperature
Lamb racks  Reverse sear 140-144° F / 60-62° C
Lamb sirloin Reverse sear 144-147° F / 62-64° C
Ground/minced lamb 147-151° F / 64-66° C

Jump straight to beef, pork, lamb, chicken, deer, moose, wild boar, duck, fish.

Chicken

Name  Cooking method Temperature
Chicken Medium hot, 150° C 158° F / 70° C
Chicken breast(s) Medium hot, 150° C 158° F / 70° C
Chicken wings Hot ‘n fast 158° F / 70° C
Chicken drumsticks Hot ‘n fast 158° F / 70° C

Jump straight to beef, pork, lamb, chicken, deer, moose, wild boar, duck, fish.

Deer (deer, fallow deer, red deer)

Name  Cooking method Temperature
Boneless beef inside, topside beef Reverse sear 129-133° F / 54-56° C
Boneless beef outside Reverse sear 133-136° F / 56-58° C
Top/beef rump, ball tip Reverse sear 129-133° F / 54-56° C
Deer tenderloin Reverse sear 129-133° F / 54-56° C

Jump straight to beef, pork, lamb, chicken, deer, moose, wild boar, duck, fish.

Moose

Name  Cooking method Temperature
Boneless beef inside, topside beef Reverse sear 133-136° F / 56-58° C
Boneless beef outside Reverse sear 129-133° F / 54-56° C
Top/beef rump, ball tip Reverse sear 129-133° F / 54-56° C
Moose tenderloin Reverse sear 129-133° F / 54-56° C

Jump straight to beef, pork, lamb, chicken, deer, moose, wild boar, duck, fish.

Wild boar

Name  Cooking method Temperature
Ground/minced wild boar 144-149° F / 62-65° C
Wild boar ham Low ‘n slow 149° F / 65° C

Jump straight to beef, pork, lamb, chicken, deer, moose, wild boar, duck, fish.

Duck

Name  Cooking method Temperature
Duck breast(s) Reverse sear 140-144° F / 60-62° C
Duck Medium hot, 150° C 140-144° F / 60-62° C

Jump straight to beef, pork, lamb, chicken, deer, moose, wild boar, duck, fish.

Fish

Name  Cooking method Temperature
Salmon Fry on medium heat (smaller pieces)

Low ‘n slow (whole)

133-136° F / 56-58° C
Pike perch Fry/bake on medium heat 126° F / 52° C
Saithe Fry/bake on medium heat  126° F /52° C
Haddock Fry/bake on medium heat  126° F /52° C
Cod Fry/bake on medium heat  126° F /52° C
Tuna Hot ‘n fast  93° F /34° C (should have a raw core)

Posted by Henrik

Passionate food lover and a big fan of traditional barbecue.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *