Party Now, Pay Later. Get rates as low as 0% with Affirm

Denaturation Process When Cooking Meat on Your PK Grill

27th Apr 2015

Denaturation Process when grilling meat

When you’re outside, using your grill and smoker, do you ever wonder what’s happening to the meat at various temperature stages? If you’re anything like us bbq geeks, just knowing what color and texture it is, isn’t enough. so if you’re interested in the denaturation process that happens when cooking meat on your PK Grill & Smoker, then get ready to geek out on some awesome barbecue science!

What every BBQer should know:

  • High and Low Heat Does Not Matter: No matter the cut. Each piece of meat experiences the same internal transformations. What varies is how fast or slow transformations occur, which depends on how you cook on your charcoal grill.
  • Time and Temperature Do Matter: There are biochemical changes going on inside that steak, pork roast and brisket to get them to their “perfect” doneness as they’re nestled atop the charcoal embers. It’s a process called denaturation which involves the breakdown of proteins by the application of extreme conditions such as time and temperature.
  • Color Changes = Denaturation: Denaturation begins at roughly 105°F upwards to temperatures +200°F. Changes in proteins can be seen in the form of changing colors such as red to brown, and can be tracked at each stage by the use of a meat thermometer.

Temperature Stages

  • 105°F to 125°F: At ~125°F meat is rare. Sear the meat to kill surface bacteria.
  • Above 125°F: When meat moves from rare to medium rare.
  • 140°F: Meat turns from pink, to brown and then to grey. During this time, meat releases a lot of juices and begins to shrink noticeably.
  • 160°F: Proteins repel the water and constrict causing them to get closer together and grow stronger. This is what gives well-done meat its tough texture.
  • 200°F: As you accelerate past 180°F and up to 200°F on some of your longer cooks, check out the complete list of tips on How It’s Cooked, published on

Bonus Tip:Internal temperature of the meat will rise during the rest. Removing meat from the heat when it’s a few degrees away from your ideal temperature will ensure that it’s perfect when it’s completed the rest.

View the complete list of tips on How It’s Cooked, published on

Looking for more inspiration? Check out these articles: