The temperature of meat is different when it is in the pan, when it's just out and starts resting or when it's done resting. When a recipe or safety recommendation calls for a specific temperature, in what "stage" of the meat preparation should it be taken?

1 Answer 1


Foor food safety, the recommendation means that the coolest part of the meat should reach the target temperature. For something like a beef or pork roast, the coolest point will be generally in the very center of the roast. For chicken or turkey, it will often be where the leg joins the body. You may need to probe more than one more place to find the coolest reading.

Now, because the meat surrounding that coolest point is at a higher temperature, the meat will continue to cook after it is removed from the oven. How much of an increase will depend on how big the roast is. In other words, a large roast will have a greater thermal mass — more meat towards the outside will be at a higher temperature, and the heat will transfer into the coolest point, raising its ultimate temperature.

So, the practical answer to your question is that you need to anticipate when the target temperature will be attained. To err on the side of food safety, keep the meat in the oven until it reaches or is very close to the target temperature. With a little experience, you'll be able to gauge how much of a temperature increase occurs with various roasts, and remove it from the oven earlier.

The bottom line however, is that the roast needs to ultimately reach the target temperature.

  • I think the temperature increase ranges very roughly from 5F for smaller things (e.g. chicken) to 10 or 15F for bigger roasts? It's enough to matter, if you're trying to avoid overcooking things, but not enough to give you tons of wiggle room food safety-wise.
    – Cascabel
    Feb 8, 2016 at 23:01
  • @Jefromi - I imagine the oven temperature is also a factor. Something roasted at a higher temperature will have a steeper thermal gradient between the coolest and warmest parts of the meat — and consequently a larger resting increase — than if it were roasted at a lower temperature, wouldn't it?
    – ElmerCat
    Feb 8, 2016 at 23:19
  • Yeah, I believe so. Just trying to give a rough ballpark so that if the OP does want to experiment they'll have some idea where to start.
    – Cascabel
    Feb 8, 2016 at 23:21

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.