Six Common Mistakes When Cooking Meat

Don’t let cooking meat ruin dinner…literally.

Follow our expert’s simple tips to avoid the six most common mistakes people make when cooking meat at home. We guarantee the results will be delicious!

Mistake 1: You didn’t preheat

Adding your protein to a cold or barely warm pan or grill will cause meat to stick to the surface, and make it difficult for you to get the sear you’re looking for.

Our tip: If you’re using a pan, add two tablespoons of oil, preferably one with a low smoke point such as canola oil, grapeseed oil, peanut oil, or extra light virgin oil. Heat your pan until the oil begins to slightly sizzle, but not too hot that it’s smoking.

If you’re using a grill, drizzle the oil on a cloth or towel and lightly coat the surface of the grill grate. Place the grate back on the grill and close the cover for five to ten minutes to heat.

Mistake 2: Your meat is still cold before cooking?

Have you ever taken a bite of meat to find it’s overdone yet undercooked? Cooking your meat cold may result in uneven cooking.

Our tip: Allow your meat to come to room temperature before cooking. Move your meat from the freezer to the refrigerator, defrosting it overnight or in the morning. When you’re ready to cook, let your meat come to room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes before preparing any other ingredients.

Mistake 3: You didn’t cut your meat correctly

Cutting meat parallel or alongside the grain, or against the grain, is not only more difficult, it results in your meat being less tender.

Our tip: The “grain” in meat refers to the direction that the muscle fibers are aligned. Whether you’re slicing before or after cooking, cut your meat perpendicular to the grain.

Mistake 4: Your heat is too low

Cooking meat on too low heat will not allow your meat to crisp and sear properly.

Our tip: For the perfect sear for most cuts of meat, whether on the grill or stovetop, turn the heat to medium-high. Before adding your protein, ensure your pan is hot. Sear on medium-high for two to four minutes.

Mistake 5: You’re constantly flipping

While it may be tempting, constantly flipping or flipping your meat too soon, especially when it hasn’t had time to build that delicious crust, will only end in disappointment.

Our tip: When cooking your meat, there is only one flip! To check if your meat is ready to flip, lift a small corner or nudge it gently. If your meat doesn’t stick, it’s ready to be flipped.

Mistake 6: You didn’t use a meat thermometer

Ignoring your meat thermometer or not using one at all will run you the risk of under cooking or overcooking your meat. Under cooking meat puts you and your family at risk of food poisoning.

Our tip: Using a meat thermometer can make all the difference between a perfectly done dish and one that is under or over cooked, while also helping you avoid food poisoning. They are especially helpful with larger and thicker cuts used typically in roasts.


  • Rare: 115 degrees
  • Medium rare: 120 degrees
  • Medium: 140 degrees
  • Medium well: 150 degrees
  • Well done: 155 degrees


  • 160 degrees for white meat (breast)
  • 165 degrees for dark meat (thigh, leg or wing)


  • 135 degrees