Doneness

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What are the levels of steak doneness?

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.

 

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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.

Here are several more stages:

Brisket (165-175°): If the meat pulls apart easily, the brisket is ready to serve.

Pot Roast (180°): If the meat pulls apart easily, the pot roast is ready to serve. Also called fork tender.

Ground Meat (160-165°): For hamburger patties, insert the digital food thermometer through the side of the patty, all the way to the middle .