Beef is a healthy inclusion in your family's diet, and it is much easier to handle and prepare safely than most people realize. Locally purchased fresh beef is always a wonderful meal. The simple addition of a meat thermometer will ensure the beef has reached a safe temperature, and you can use the thermometer to judge the doneness of a piece of beef so that you can tailor your cooking to the preferences of your family and guests. Meat thermometers take the guesswork out of cooking. When shopping for beef, it should be the last item you pick up. Check the sell-by date on the packaging, and make sure the beef feels cold. Ideally, you should use it within a day or two of purchase, and always before five days have passed. Make sure you keep your refrigerator below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and your freezer below 0 degrees. Place beef in the coldest part of the refrigerator until you are ready to use it. Always wash your hands well with soap after handling raw meat. Dedicate a cutting board for meat preparation and wash it with antibacterial soap between uses. If you wish to freeze the beef, use it within two weeks if you freeze it in its original packaging; otherwise, place it in a freezer bag and remove as much air as possible. Clearly mark the date on the package. Thaw frozen beef in the refrigerator. When you are ready to cook your beef, the amount of time that it spends cooking is much less important than the temperature it reaches in the thickest portion of the meat. It should be at least 145 degrees. At that temperature, it is considered medium rare and it is very safe.
- Medium beef is ready at 160 degrees.
- Well done beef is ready at 170 degrees.
- Ground beef is ready at 160 degrees.