Grilling is my absolute favorite way to cook (right ahead of slow cooking). It’s hot, it’s fast, and it’s outside. But, because cooking on the grill is so hot and so fast, it’s really easy to over-cook your dinner in the blink of an eye. And who wants to pay good money for a steak just to have it end up tasting like leather? Definitely not me.
Hi guys, it’s Marybeth, from Alarm Clock Wars and AgriCultured!
So how do you know when your steak is done? The best way is to use a meat thermometer.
I know, I know. Using a meat thermometer can be kind of a pain. You need to remember what temperature you’re aiming for. You need to remember to bring the thermometer out of the kitchen. You need to poke a hole in your beautiful steak, and some of the tasty juices run out of that hole. No fun.
Did you know that you can estimate how “done” your steak is by the way it feels?
Hold your hand out, palm up, like this:
Then touch the base of your thumb, like this:
That’s what a raw steak feels like.
OK, that one was sort of silly, you can probably tell a raw steak just by looking at it. But it gets you started, because it can be really hard to tell how well done a steak is once it starts cooking. So, on to the important parts!
If you want a rare steak (the way my husband likes them), make a circle with your thumb and index finger, then touch the same spot at the base of your thumb. That’s what a rare steak should feel like. A rare steak should be cooked to 120-125 degrees Fahrenheit, and should have a cool, red center.
For medium-rare (my personal preference), make a circle with your thumb and middle finger, then touch the base of your thumb. That’s what medium-rare should feel like. A medium rare steak should be cooked to 145 degrees Fahrenheit, and have a warm, red center.
Side note – from a food safety perspective. The USDA recommends a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees F to serve beef. So, I do not officially recommend that you eat rare steaks. But if that’s your choice, go for it!
For a medium steak, make a circle with your thumb and ring finger, then touch the base of your thumb. That’s what medium should feel like. A medium steak should be cooked to 160 degrees Fahrenheit, and should have a warm, slightly pink center.
I definitely don’t recommend cooking a steak past medium. You’ll lose a lot of the moisture in the meat, and will end up with a tough, dry, chewy piece of meat. But, if you really must know, here’s how to tell what a well done steak should feel like. Make a circle with your thumb and pinky, and touch the base of your thumb. That’s a well done steak. It should be cooked to at least 170 degrees F, and should be hot through the center. I won’t cook a steak that far, (on purpose anyway), so I don’t have a picture of that steak. Here is how to hold your hand to get the “touch test” estimate.
I’ll admit… I was skeptical to trust my steaks to this method. I cooked, I tested, I touched, I checked the temperature. And it works! Instead of just guessing when your steaks are cooked, use the “touch test” to get that perfectly cooked steak every time.
What’s your favorite way to cook steak? How “well done” do you like it?