The Ultimate Steak Doneness Guide

Cooking the perfect steak can be challenging to master. There are many factors that influence how a steak will cook, from the cut of beef to the temperature of the pan to the preferred level of doneness. A chef’s standard goal for cooking a steak is medium-rare; this creates a tender, juicy steak that will melt in your mouth. There are several visual and tactile indicators that can help you figure out how to tell if a steak is done to the desired level. This steak doneness chart from How Long To Cook can help teach you how to cook a steak just right: Ultimate Steak Doneness Guide

How to Cook a Steak Medium-Rare

If you are aiming to cook a steak medium-rare on a grill, the first step is to make sure that the steak is at room temperature before cooking. Take it out of the refrigerator and let sit, covered, for 20 minutes. Heat the grill to high, brush the steak with oil, and season generously as desired (salt and pepper are key). Place the steak on the hot grill and cook until golden brown and barely charred, about 4 to 5 minutes. Flip the steak and continue to cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer to ensure that it is between 130 and 140°F. Not sure how to use a meat thermometer? Check out this quick resource from The Old Farmer’s Almanac.

Are you more interested in how to cook a steak medium-rare in a skillet? Many prefer cast iron skillets for achieving the perfect medium-rare steak. Heat the pan over high heat for 5 minutes. After your steak has been left out to reach room temperature, season it generously with salt and pepper. Add ½ teaspoon of butter to the pan, and immediately cover it with the steak. Cook without moving until a golden crust forms, about 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and cook another 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes.

In both methods, the goal is a bright red, warm center. When touched, it should feel fairly soft and spongy with a bit of bounce-back. The sides will be well-browned, with a dark brown top and bottom. This temperature is ideal for rib eye, T-bone, and strip steak.

What Temperature Should a Rare Steak Be?

A rare steak should be cooked to 125 to 130°F.

What Temperature Should a Medium-Rare Steak Be?

A medium-rare steak should be cooked to 130 to 140°F.

What Temperature Should a Medium Steak Be?

A medium steak should be cooked to 140 to 150°F.

What Temperature Should a Medium-Well Steak Be?

A medium-well steak should be 150 to 155°F.

What Temperature Should a Well-Done Steak Be?

A well-done steak should be 160°F.

We hope you find this steak temperature chart and list of steak cooking tips helpful. Be sure to check out our resource on how to avoid potential cooking dangers to stay safe in the kitchen while you make your steak dreams come true.

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