The temperature and cooking time of steak may vary depending on the size, shape, and method of preparation. Steak doneness is used to gauge the level in which a cut of meat has been cooked based on its internal temperature, color, and juiciness. The doneness of steak can be tested using an instant-read thermometer or a meat thermometer. Familiarizing yourself with the cut of steak and grade helps you learn how it changes in appearance and taste as it cooks.
It is important to know about the meat you are cooking before it is placed on the grill as it allows you to gauge when a steak is properly cooked. The meat often feels soft and spongy in its uncooked form but becomes firmer and gradually solid as the fat softens and melts away. This article looks at five types of steak doneness you should know when cooking steak.
Obviously, everyone has their own personal preferences as to how they would like their beef cooked or seared. There are common standards that apply to each level of doneness but even those vary in individuals minds. Another variable is what part of the country you live in. Down south there are standard expectations not just with steak but with eggs, oatmeal, and even hot sauces and BBQ sauces. However, for this article, lets start with the basics so we dont get to complicated with all the options. We are going to stick with common steak fundamentals here!
- Well Cooked
Any professional griller has to know how to do a well-cooked steak as it is considered one of the hardest to cook. The secret often lies on the preset level of temperature, as you need to cook it in slow and low heat. This prevents the meat from burning through the middle while fully cooking it. The steak should not have even the faintest inkling of pink at the middle. It should be browned through rather than burnt through and the outer side should feel solid to the touch. A 1-inch steak should reach an internal temperature of 77 degrees Celsius or higher when grilled over medium heat for at least 10 to 12 minutes per side.
- Medium Well
People who are easily nauseated and do not want color in their meat may prefer medium-well doneness. Unlike a well-done steak, the medium well steak will have a slight inkling of pink at the middle. It also has a dark brown surface with good searing on both sides. The steak will still have a little squish in the middle even though it will be very stiff. The internal temperature of a medium-well steak ranges from 68 to 74 degrees Celsius and may take 5 to 7 minutes per side to be done.
The medium level of doneness is ideal for a large group of people because of its rich appearance and quality taste. It is browner than pink and has a thick inkling of light pink at the center. The upper and bottom surfaces should be seared darkly but not too dark and both sides should have a rich brown color. This type of steak doneness needs to feel firm to the touch even though it should have some play through the middle. The internal temperature of medium-cooked steak ranges from 60 to 65 degrees Celsius and takes about 4 to 6 minutes per side to be done.
- Medium rare
Many people like their steak medium rare because it offers the best balance of heat, tenderness, and juiciness. The center should be warm and have a slight hint of red with pink as the primary color. The sides should be well browned and the surfaces caramelized with good grill marks to a dark brown color. The firm surface should be able to spring back quickly with touch. The internal temperature of a medium-rare steak ranges from 55 to 57 degrees Celsius and takes 4 to 5 minutes per side to get done.
People who want a steak that is cooked but nearly raw may choose to go with rare steak doneness. It is usually cooked to be polite with as little heat as possible. This type of steak is much like the raw meat but is soft to the touch and browned over the surface. It should be bright red in the middle, browned around the sides, lightly charred on the outside and warm through the center. The internal temperature of a rare steak ranges from 50 to 55 degrees Celsius and should take at least 3 to 4 minutes per side to get done.
The best way to test for doneness is to know how the steak surface feels upon touch as it cooks. It may range somewhere from squishy to firm depending on the amount of heat used to cook each side. The best way to learn how steak changes as it cooks is to familiarize yourself with the type of steak cut and grade. Using a reliable meat thermometer has a great influence on how well you pull off different types of steak doneness as it delivers accurate temperature results.