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Steak Doneness: A Guide to The Main 5 Temps and Timing for Cooking Juicy and Flavorful Steaks

Steak Doneness

Achieving the desired steak doneness level on a steak is all about internal temperature. Whether you prefer a rare, medium-rare, medium, medium-well, or well-done steak, knowing the internal temperatures at which steak riches these doneness levels is key. In this article, we will explore the art of timing to help you achieve the perfect steak doneness every time you fire up the grill or heat up the pan.

Understanding Steak Doneness Levels

A steak doneness level refers to the final internal temperature to which the steak is cooked. For example, for a rare steak, the final temperature should be 120°F to 130°F, for medium-rare, the temperature should read 130°F to 135°F and for a medium steak, the final done temperature should be 135-145F.

Below you will find a complete list of steak doneness levels and temperatures.

1. Rare Steak

A rare steak is cooked quickly over high heat, leaving the center cool and red. It is perfect for those who relish the natural tenderness and juicy flavors of steak. The ideal internal temperature for a rare steak ranges from 120°F to 130°F. For a typical 1-inch (2.5 cm) thick steak, this would translate to a cooking time of approximately 2-3 minutes per side. Nothing more than a quick sear, serve and rest.

2. Medium-Rare

A medium-rare steak is the epitome of balance. It offers a warm pink center surrounded by a lightly seared, flavorful exterior. To achieve medium-rare doneness, cook the steak to an internal temperature of 130°F to 135°F, which usually takes around 4-5 minutes per side for a 1-inch (2.5 cm) thick steak.

3. Medium

For those who prefer a slightly more cooked steak but still enjoy a pink center, medium doneness is the way to go. This level of doneness is achieved when the internal temperature ranges from 135°F to 145°F. Cooking a 1-inch (2.5 cm) thick steak to medium doneness requires around 6-8 minutes per side on average.

4. Medium-Well

A medium-well steak is cooked with a hint of pink in the center and has a more pronounced brown exterior. The internal temperature for medium-well doneness falls between 145°F to 155°F. To reach this level of doneness, cook a 1-inch (2.5 cm) thick steak for about 8-10 minutes per side.

5. Well-Done

If you prefer your steak cooked throughout with no trace of pink, a well-done steak is what you’re after. This level of doneness yields an internal temperature of 155°F to 165°F or higher. Cooking a 1-inch (2.5 cm) thick steak to be well done typically requires around 10-15 minutes per side.

Steak Doneness Chart

RareMedium RareMediumMedium WellWell Done
Temperature120-130 F130-135 F135-145F145-155 F155-165 F
steak doneness chart illustration

Tips for Achieving Perfect Steak Doneness

  1. Temperature readings should be taken from the center of the steak. The outside of the steak cooks faster than the center.
  2. Use a reliable meat thermometer: To ensure cooking precision, invest in a good-quality meat thermometer. This tool will help you monitor and check the internal temperature to cook steaks to the right doneness.
  3. Stop cooking your steak when is 5 degrees below your target temperature. Remember that even when you put the steak on a cutting board, it will carry over and continue cooking for a few minutes.
  4. Let the steak rest: After cooking, allow your steak to rest for a few minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a more flavorful and tender steak.
  5. Consider steak thickness: Thicker steaks will require longer cooking times for the same doneness level. Many times reverse searing thick steaks is the best way to preserve its texture and tenderness of a thick steak. Adjust your cooking time accordingly.
  6. Experiment with different cooking methods: Grilling, searing, broiling, and sous vide are all viable methods for cooking steak. Each technique has its own optimal cooking time and allows you to control the doneness precisely.
  7. Season to enhance flavor: Prior to cooking, season your steak generously with salt, and pepper, or for better flavor use our steak blend, Gypsy, a fine mix of herbs and spices. This will add depth and enhance the overall flavor profile.

By understanding the different steak doneness levels and paying careful attention to cooking times, you can achieve steak perfection each time you prepare this beloved dish. Experiment with different doneness levels to find your personal preference and enjoy the juicy, succulent steak that is cooked to perfection.

Remember, the perfect timing for steak doneness is within your grasp – just a few minutes away from a culinary masterpiece!

Note: It’s important to follow safe food handling practices and ensure your steak reaches a safe minimum internal temperature to avoid foodborne illness.

Picture of Writen By: Hector

Writen By: Hector

Hector is the CEO and Founder of Stella On Fire Co. As a self-taught chef and entrepreneur at heart, he set out to create amazing seasonings and rub flavors everyone can enjoy. Hector is also our Food Safety and Protection Manager for Stella On Fire Co.

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