Preparing meat is best when done safely and efficiently. If you're planning a meal, make sure you know these top 5 safety tips for cooking meat.

Did you know that the average person eats over 220 pounds of meat each year? This statistic doesn’t even factor in seafood!

Whether you’re a meat-lover or you enjoy eating meat every once in a while, it’s crucial to learn how to cook meat the right way to avoid getting sick.

Are you ready to navigate your kitchen with confidence? Keep reading to learn 5 important guidelines for cooking meat that will protect you from foodborne illnesses.

1. Don’t Let Your Meat Rest Outside the Fridge Too Long

Lots of professional chefs suggest a resting period on the countertop before cooking red meat or poultry so everything has a chance to reach room temperature. When meat isn’t so cold, it’s easier to get an even cook instead of having a burnt outside and raw middle. While it is safe to follow this pro tip, make sure you never leave your meat out of the fridge for more than two hours.

2. Cook to at Least 145 Degrees Before Eating Red Meat

If you don’t know how to cook red meat, the most important fact to know is that the internal temperature must reach at least 145 degrees before you can remove it from the heat. You should also let your meat rest for 3 minutes after to not only seal in those delicious juices, but to also let the meat continue to cook through carryover heat. Some people enjoy eating their steaks rare at a temperature between 130 and 140, but you should never do this unless you know the meat you’re buying is from a clean, safe source.

3. Cook to at Least 165 Degrees Before Eating Poultry and Ground Meats

Poultry always comes with the risk of catching salmonella and the best way you can eliminate that risk is to cook your meat to 165 degrees. Any type of meat that’s been ground also needs to reach this temperature to kill any germs that may have been mixed throughout the serving.

4. Be Mindful of Cross-Contamination While Cooking Meat

Before, during, and after the cooking process, it’s essential to take precautions that reduce your chances of any cross-contamination. This means that raw meat or any utensil that touched it should never come in contact with the food you’re about to eat. For example, if you’re seasoning your meat on a glass plate, you need to thoroughly wash that plate while the meat is cooking or get a new plate to serve the finished product.

5. Store Leftovers Right Away

Whether you’re entertaining guests or getting sucked into a new tv show, you can’t forget to put your leftovers in the fridge after you’re finished eating. Using tools like meat case dividers can help you keep raw and cooked foods separate.

Now You Know the Best Tips for Cooking Red Meat and Poultry Safely

Before you start cooking meat, it’s always a good idea to revisit safety basics to avoid getting sick. By following these guidelines, you can make every meal delicious and healthy.

Do you want to know other ways you can elevate your cooking skills? Browse our blog so you can access more great lifestyle tips.