Steak doneness guide

It’s time to talk about steak doneness. Or in other words, how cook (or not) you want your cut of beef to be before consuming it.

Depending on how you like your meat to be cooked, you get diferent levels of doneness. But this will also depend on the type of cut of meat you have and the size of it.

Even more: professional chefs say that what really defines the steak doneness is its cut. Hence there is no point in ordering a medium-thin cut, or a welldone thick cut.

Anyhow, in this post we will list you the best know levels of steak doneness.

Also read: Best Grilling Accessories

Levels of steak doneness

There are six types of steak doneness, although four of them are the most popular in the BBQ world.

Here you will know about each type of doneness and the cooking time to achieve them. The temperature of the fire in which we will base this article is medium heat.

Also read: How to check the temperature of the grill without a thermometer


Blue rare

Blue rare steak

Here, the center of the meat is raw and in certain cases it becomes cold (that’s why the term blue rare) because the exterior is quickly sealed, but the internal temperature of the meat is less than 35 °C.

In most cases, this term is not recommended for health reasons. Although it is the ideal doneness for purists (true carnivore).


Rare

Rare steak

Its interior coloration is pinkish with a completely red and almost crude center, although not as much as the bue rare steak doneness level.

The idea is to obtain a very juicy meat, so to achieve it the interior temperature must be around 40 °C. The outer part is well cooked.

  • Cooking time: 2 minutes per side.
  • Texture to the touch: Flaccid and warm in the center.

Medium rare

Medium rare steak

The meat retains its juiciness and flavor, but its internal temperature ranges from 55 °C. The interior is also red, although much less than the rare steak doneness.

  • Cooking time: 4 minutes per side.
  • Texture to the touch: Soft with slight resistance.

Medium

Medium steak

Many consider this level of doneness the ideal one because it is neither very raw nor very cooked. Its interior has a small red coloration (internal temperature around 63 °C) and it still retains its juiciness. The outer part is well cooked.

  • Cooking time: 7 minutes per side.
  • Texture to the touch: Resistant and soft at the same time.

Medium well

Medium well steak

In this level, the meat begins to lose its juiciness a bit, but you can still perceive it on the outside. The internal temperature of the cut is between 65 °C and 75 °C and the reddish coloration is no longer noticeable in its center. Rather it is light brown with a thin pinkish streak.

  • Cooking time: 9 minutes per side.
  • Texture to the touch: Stronger than soft.

Well done

Well done steak

As the name implies, it is a fully cooked meat. You will not see any red coloration inside, but it will not have juiciness either. Its internal temperature reaches 77 ºC onwards, and it is ideal for those who do not like to see blood on their meat.

  • Cooking time: 12 minutes per side.
  • Texture to the touch: Hard and resistant.

Important tips of steak doneness

As the internal temperature of the meat increases, its flavor and juiciness will decrease. Even in well done steak doneness, the meat usually loses up to 80% of the internal juices. That means that it also loses its flavor.

The formula that many grill lovers are based on is the following: The less cooked the meat is, the more natural its flavor will be; the more cooked is, the meat loses its juiciness and texture, although the flavors of the added seasonings penetrate more.

Just remember: If the meat starts to flow blood while you are sealing it, it means that 50% of it is already cooked. If the blood begins to flow again when you turn it over, the meat is fully cooked.

How to check the doneness of meat

The fastest way to check the doneness of meat is by using a special thermometer: it is inserted into the thickest part of the meat, avoiding touching the bone.

But if you don’t have a thermometer, another way to know the steak doneness is by touching and pressing the outside of the meat with your fingers. The harder, the more cooked it is.

There is a technique to identify the doneness of meat by hand. It is called The Finger Test. Here is an explanatory video:

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