Cooking TechniquesDone To Perfection: Your Guide To Steak Doneness
Summer’s finally here, and if you stand in your backyard and listen closely, you’ll hear the beautiful sound of millions of grills being lit across the country.
The second part of grilling is searing. Searing a steak involves exposing its surface to extremely hot temperatures (meaning 500°or hotter) for short periods. This results in what’s called the Maillard effect, and it gives your steak the crunchy, brown flavorful exterior that steak lovers prize.
Steak Doneness Levels
Blue Rare (115°): Also known as Very Rare, Blood Rare, Black & Blue, Pittsburgh Rare, or Bloody As Hell. Blue Rare steaks are only seared on the outside, meaning the inside remains almost completely uncooked and raw. Blue Rare steaks are often still cool on the inside, and may be placed in an oven at a low temperature to warm.
Rare (120°): Rare steaks have a warm but very red center. This means the surface has the tasty flavor and texture of the Maillard effect, but also means that the steak’s fats have not had a chance to properly melt. Because of this, Rare is a great choice for low-fat steaks, such as tenderloins, but should be avoided for well-marbled cuts such as rib-eyes, strips, and porterhouses.
Medium Rare (130°): The gold-standard of steak doneness. Ask almost any chef or steak aficionado: Medium Rare means the best tasting, most tender steak you can grill. At this temperature, the steak’s fat has had a chance to melt, distributing butteriness and flavor, but not a lot of moisture has evaporated yet, meaning a supremely tender, juicy, and plump steak. A medium-rare steak is red at the center, with a ring of pinkness between the center and the crust.
Medium (140°): A medium steak no longer contains a red center, but is pink throughout most of the steak. Medium steaks retain the buttery, flavorful taste of Medium-Rare steaks, but have slightly less juiciness and tenderness, due to moisture loss.
Medium Well (150°): Medium Well steaks still retain a little bit of pinkness and tenderness, but have begun to lose enough moisture that they will be drier and less tender than most steak lovers would care for.
Well Done (160°): Most chefs and grillmasters would say this level of doneness is poorly named – “Over-Done” would be a better fit. By this point, enough moisture (and fat) has either evaporated or leaked from the steak that it you’ll find your meat much drier and tougher than you’d probably like it.
Some people will tell you not to do this, as poking a steak will let the juices leak out. Ignore them – it’s nonsense. A small amount of juices will leak, but not enough that anyone will notice.
Similarly, ignore those who tell you to check a steak’s doneness through the finger test Different breeds of beef, cuts of meat, and steak thicknesses can cause big variations in how a cooked steak feels to the touch – the method is unreliable, and is a great way to ruin a good Wagyu or Kobe-style steak.
If you’re looking for more tips on how to get the perfect steak, why not check out a few of Steak U’s videos, and let some of Chicago’s top steakhouse chefs and steak lovers show you how it’s done?
With the price of beef these days you don’t want to “Ruin” your meat on the grill.I like my beef rare to medium rare, so I think, in my humble opinion the reverse sear method is the way to rock. Click Here to Watch.