3 Ways to Tell If Meat Is Cooked

Chicken, pork, and beef all have different tell-tale signs of doneness.

IMAGE Patrick Martires

Novice cooks may be intimidated by cooking chicken, pork, and beef. Undercook them and you’re putting lives at risk, overcook them and they become tough and chewy. How do you tell if your meat is cooked just right—tender, juicy, and tasty?


1 The juices should run clear.

This is especially true for chicken. A whole roasted chicken is done once the leg and wing pieces wiggle loosely and the juices run clear once your poke or cut into the chicken. For bone-in fried chicken, pierce the thickest part of the meat and peek into it: it should look white and the juices should run clear, too.


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2 Do the touch test.

Touch the middle of your protein with your index finger. If it feels springy, it is still getting there. If you’re cooking a steak, it is somewhere approaching medium doneness. If it feels firm, that means that your protein is approaching well-doneness.


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3 Did you let your meat rest?

Remember that residual heat will continue to cook the meat. Let full roasts rests for around 20 minutes after you pull them out of the oven, and at least 5 minutes for smaller cuts like steaks, pork chops, or belly.


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