Meat Grilling Chart for Perfect Results Every Time

Steaks on the Grill
Steaks on the Grill. Shannon M. Lutman/Moment/Getty Images

Most people cook meats, whether pork, seafood, beef, or poultry, on their outdoor charcoal or gas grill. These ingredients are expensive, so knowing how long to cook each type of meat is crucial. This chart will help you cook meats perfectly on an outdoor grill. Make sure that the chicken, hamburgers, and seafood are fully cooked to a safe internal temperature, tested with a food thermometer, before serving.

These foods should be grilled over medium coals. That means that you can hold your hand about 5" from the grate for 5 to 7 seconds before you need to pull it away. Be sure the coals are covered with a light ash before you start cooking. Most of these foods, except for fish and shrimp, should be cooked with a covered grill.

Steaks can be cooked to any desired doneness, but for food safety reasons, make sure they are at least 140°F, or medium rare. Pork and lamb can be cooked to 145°F, according to new information put out by the USDA. Ground meats, whether beef, turkey, or chicken, must be cooked to 165°F to kill bacteria.

Make sure you know how to grill before you start. Clean the grill, using a brush with stiff bristles, or a crumpled up piece of foil. Oil the grill rack lightly, then add the meat. Let the meat stand on the grill, covered or not, until it releases easily. There should be beautiful grill marks on the meat.


Grilled meats such as steak, pork chops, tenderloin, and chicken should have a standing time after grilling. Place on a clean plate (not the plate you used to carry the meat to the grill), cover with foil, and let stand for 5 minutes. This raises the internal temperature a bit and lets the juices redistribute.

Meat Grilling Chart
MeatGrilling Times
Boneless Beef SteakMarinate if desired. Steak should be 1/2 to 1" thick. Grill for 7 to 14 minutes for medium rare, 11 to 18 minutes for medium, turning once.
Bone-in Beef SteakMarinate if desired. Steak should be 1/2 to 1" thick. Grill for 7 to 14 minutes for medium rare, 11 to 18 aunties for medium, turning once.
Chicken BreastsBoneless chicken products cook more evenly on the grill. Chicken breasts can be cooked as-is, or pounded until thinner and an even thickness for quicker cooking. Grill until thoroughly done to 160°F on a meat thermometer. Turn once while cooking.
Fish FilletsGrill until the fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Grill for 4 to 6 minutes per 1/2" of thickness, turning once. You can grill fillets on a sheet of heavy-duty foil. Piece the foil with a knife a few times to let the smoke come through.
Fish SteaksTuna, salmon, halibut, and swordfish steaks should be 1/2" to 1" thick. Marinate before cooking if desired. Grill for 4 to 6 minutes for each 1/2" of thickness. Salmon steaks can be made round by removing skin from one of the "tails". Tuck the tail inside and wrap the skin around; tie with kitchen string and grill.
Ground Beef PattiesPatties should be 1/2 to 3/4" thick. Grill until thoroughly cooked to 165°F on a meat thermometer. To make hamburgers tender, add a parade of 2 tablespoons milk and 1/4 cup soft bread crumbs to each pound of meat. Make a divot in each patty with your thumb so the burgers don't puff up while cooking. Do not press down on patties as they cook.
Ham SteakPrecooked ham steaks should be grilled until just heated through. This should take about 6 to 10 minutes over medium coals. Turn once while cooking. The temperature should be at least 140°F.
Hotdogs and SausagesFor precooked products (identified on the label), cook until heated through to 160°F, about 4 to 6 minutes. For raw products, first precook in a skillet until almost done, then finish cooking on the grill for 8 to 12 minutes, turning frequently, until cooked to 165°F.
Lamb ChopsThese chops can be bone-in or boneless, about 1/2 to 1" thick. Grill for 1`2 to 16 minutes, turning once, until temperature is at least 140°F.
Pork ChopsChops can be bone-in or boneless, about 1/2 to 1" thick. Grill for 12 to 16 minutes, turning once, until meat thermometer registers 145°F.
Pork TenderloinCut a boneless pork tenderloin in half lengthwise. Marinate if desired. Cook for 12 to 18 minutes, turning several times, until meat thermometer registers 145°F.
ShrimpUse a grill basket or thread shrimp on skewers. Grill until shrimp turn pink and are springy to the touch, about 5 to 7 minutes, turning once.