If you are cooking say poultry, and you know already that you must get it to 165 degrees for it to reach safe temperature, you would pull it at 160 degrees and allow it to sit for at least 5 minutes and it will reach the final temperature through carrying overcooking. If you get poultry to 165 degrees, even if the meat still looks pink, it is safe to eat. One thing that is key to cooking poultry, especially with bone-in poultry like whole chickens, turkeys, or breast with skin on and bone-in, the temperature reading must come from next to the bone at the thickest part of the breast pieces, or at the thickest part of the thigh on whole birds. The reason for the different locations is that a whole bird has different temperature zones and if you pull a whole bird when the breast is at 160, the thigh meat will not be done. If you take the temperatures at the thigh and it is at 160, the breast will be at approximately 190-200 degrees this is okay, there is more moisture in the breast and the natural return of juices to the center will ensure you have a moist, tender, juicy bird.
Now that we have a better understanding of how temperature affects the quality of what we are cooking, hopefully your anxieties will be lessened and your friends will also cook better, and you will have also had an opportunity to give them a gift.
Having safe, great-tasting food is the key to a successful get-together, and you can help make the experience great, so get that thermometers, give them to your friends, and let’s all enjoy the best BBQ season ever!!!