I am told it's better to steam meat (over boiling) so that all the dangerous bacteria and parasites are killed but too many nutrients aren't lost in the process.

So how does one figure out how long to steam meat? (So that it doesn't get overcooked, but is safe and nutritious to eat.)

EDITED out the part that said it's for the dog, as the context is unnecessary here (as suggested by @rfusca).

2 Answers 2


There are charts for when bacteria and parasites die. You will just have to check the internal temperature of the meat with a thermometer. Once it has reached the minimal temperature which makes you feel safe, you can remove it from the heat. It doesn't matter if you are steaming or using any other method.

This is a safety-oriented chart from Jeff Potter's book Cooking for Geeks.

enter image description here

And this is a detailed protein chart from McGee's On food and cooking

enter image description here

  • Thank you so much for taking the time to scan the info. I plan to buy that book! =) BUT... isn't it missing the amount of time the food should be cooked at the recommended temperature?
    – its_me
    Mar 4, 2014 at 20:18
  • 2
    @its_me there is no such time. There can't be, with traditional cooking methods. (There are separate charts for sous vide). You just stop cooking as soon as the thermometer reaches the desired temperature for thin meats, a few degrees earlier for thick ones where you expect sufficient carryover from the hot outside to the center so that the center ends up at this temperature. The exceptions are noted on the chart, such as the FSIS pork guideline.
    – rumtscho
    Mar 4, 2014 at 20:22
  • Wow, that's a huge gap between FSIS and USDA for pork. Do you happen to know if FSIS has done anything similar for other meats, or if they just agree with the USDA?
    – Cascabel
    Mar 4, 2014 at 22:30
  • @Jefromi note that they say "hold for 1 minute". It is perfectly normal that the temperature which achieves a log7 reduction in a given bacteria instantly is so far from the temperature which needs 1 minute to achieve the same reduction. I am not aware of 1 minute holding temperatures being published for other meats, but I have never actively searched for such information.
    – rumtscho
    Mar 4, 2014 at 22:42

Steaming meat is much too fiddly, for little significant difference from "slow cooking". Steaming meat means it does not go above 100°C. This can be achieved through many simple and potentially better techniques

The higher the temperature, the more nutrients may get destroyed (when you cook something all the way through). Steaming does not recover lost nutrients from juice run off

Try making a plain casserole, and serve the meat with juices (sauce, gravy...). Then if any nutrients leach from the meat they will be in the juices anyway

Use a slow cooker or crock pot to make a large batch up, or better yet a sous-vide setup should give the ultimate results

Add brown rice etc to make a complete meal. Use a nutrient calculator to check the nutrient profile is what you are after. e.g. wolframalpha

  • 1
    1. As the context of the dog is unnecessary here, I removed it. 2. Not to be rude, but there's no such thing as much too fiddly for dog food. As the owner of a pet I love I care as much about my dog's health as I do mine. The reason why I mentioned the dog is that our recipes tend more towards taste over nutrition, which I wanted to avoid from the answers. 3. By "use a slow cooker or crock pot," do you suggest that it's better to slow cook food (i.e. less temperature, long time) vs. cooking at high temperature? Can you please provide some basis for this? And thank you so much!
    – its_me
    Mar 3, 2014 at 3:03
  • @its_me It free advice, you shouldn't be rude! De-dogged anyway
    – TFD
    Mar 3, 2014 at 3:13
  • I only meant to correct you; sorry if that seemed rude. =/ And wow, I didn't know about that wolframalpha thing, thank you!
    – its_me
    Mar 3, 2014 at 3:28
  • 2
    @its_me It didn't seem rude. If you think something's wrong with an answer, especially to your own question, you should speak up like you did.
    – Cascabel
    Mar 4, 2014 at 17:38
  • Again, the OP clearly meant it as "I know you could take my disagreement as rude but it's true for me, so here you are: ..." and did not take your reply as tongue in cheek. It sounds like originally it was just an honest misunderstanding on your part, but now you're deliberately sticking to your version despite two mods and the OP seeing it differently. To sum up: please try to be polite and expect some criticism on your answers. I'll clean up the comments.
    – Cascabel
    Mar 4, 2014 at 22:14

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.