Meatloaf is one of the most classic recipes and dishes served at diners and family-style restaurants. Almost every family has their own version of a meatloaf recipe. While it is commonly served at special occasions and family gatherings, it is still a puzzle to many how to achieve the best internal temperature of meatloaf.
The best kind of meatloaf is moist and tender, not dry and chalky. Unfortunately, almost everyone has had their taste of the latter. If you want to fully enjoy this hearty recipe, make sure you know how to cook it properly and achieve the ideal temperature.
How to Tell When Meatloaf is Done
When talking about the internal temp of meatloaf, it is all about knowing whether or not the meat is done. There are several ways to check the ‘doneness’ of the meatloaf.
The first step is to check the internal temperature of the meat. In general, an internal temperature of 71 degrees C is enough to make sure that the meat is cooked all the way through. There are no strict guidelines on the right temperature for meatloaf as is the case with whole meat, but the aforementioned temperature range should be a safe bet.
Since meatloaf is not as big of a cut as most other cuts of meat, it is very easy to overcook it. It is also very prone to dryness given the different types of ingredients that are added to the mix. This is why it is recommended that you keep a meat thermometer handy so you can check the internal temperature. When it has reached 71 degrees C, it’s time to take it out of the oven and let it rest on your countertop for a few minutes.
Letting the meat rest is important so that the juice can settle and the meat can retain its flavor. Otherwise, if you slice it too soon, all of the flavorful goodness will end up on the cutting board.
Since different types of meat can impact cooking times and internal temperature, it is important to know the proper internal temp to aim for when cooking different types of meatloaf.
How to measure internal meat temperature?
when measuring the internal temperature on meat it is determined by several factors, one of those is it a steak, roast, whole bird, something like a brisket, pastrami, or corned beef, and what degree of doneness you are looking for. With steaks and chops, you can cook any of them with the exception of pork to any degree of doneness, the way you check the temperature is to measure the temperature with your X10 in the center halfway through the thickest part of the meat. this should give you an accurate temperature of the whole piece of meat, with roasts, whole birds, and briskets, etc., you will need to measure the temperature in several places to get a true accurate temperature reading.
Internal Temp of Meatloaf – All Beef
The ideal temperature for an all-beef meatloaf is 71 degrees Celsius. You can cook your meat for an hour and start checking the temperature within the 50-minute mark. As soon as the thermometer reads 65 degrees C, you can take the meatloaf out of the oven. Let it rest for at least 15 minutes before taking the temperature reading once again.
The residual heat on the meat will continue to cook it even when it is out of the oven. It is safe to serve and eat once the meatloaf is at 71 degrees C.
Internal Temp of Meatloaf – Classic
A classic meatloaf is made of a combination of beef and pork. This should be cooked at 176 degrees C and you can check the temperature after an hour. You should aim for a temperature reading of 71 degrees C.
You have to keep in mind that this recipe contains ground pork, so you need to achieve 71 degrees C in internal temp to make sure that it is safe to consume.
Internal Temp of Meatloaf – Turkey
When cooking or baking turkey meatloaf, the ideal internal temperature you should aim for is 73 degrees Celsius. Make sure to take the meatloaf out of the oven once it reaches 71 degrees Celsius.
Check the temperature of the meatloaf after 1 hour and 15 minutes in a 176-degree oven. If it has reached an internal temp of 71 degrees, you can take it out of the oven. The heat inside the meat will allow it to continuously cook even when it is set on your countertop. Wait 15 to 20 minutes so you can check its temperature once again. Make sure that the thermometer reading is at 73 degrees C at this point. With that, you may now slice and serve the meatloaf.
What Makes a Good Meatloaf
Knowing the best internal temp of meatloaf is the first step towards creating the best meatloaf. First and foremost, the meat should be moist but not soggy. This is made possible by two things: the use of binders and proper temperature control.
The use of binders like eggs, milk, or bread crumbs is a great way to keep the meat together. In addition, some of these ingredients are also designed to retain moisture in the meat such that it stays moist even after the cooking process.
Proper temperature control is vital to ensure that you can cook the meat evenly without drying it out. Overcooking meatloaf is a no-no. You must aim for the recommended internal temp for meatloaf as detailed above based on the type of meat you use. If you go beyond that recommended temperature, the meat will lose some of its natural moisture and it will no longer be juicy.
On the flip side, meatloaf that is soggy is not enjoyable either. This is common when you use too much fat in the meatloaf preparation. When the fat renders, it is absorbed back by the meatloaf, causing it to become soggy.
Next up, the meatloaf should slice and not crumble. You know when you’ve achieved the right cook when you can slice the meatloaf with ease. This is made possible by proper mixing of the ingredients so that it can retain its shape during and after the cooking process, as well as its flavor. The protein in the meat is what will help keep the meat together so that it is easy to slice.
There are so many recipe variations to meatloaf from over the years. You can also have one that has been handed down to you from generation to generation in your family. No matter which recipe you use, it is important to take note of the temperature when cooking the meat. This is vital to ensure that you can enjoy your meatloaf and achieve the right texture (aside from being safe to eat).