Steak Doneness - How to Cook Any Steak Style

Rare steak with potatoes and arugula
kellywendtphoto/ Twenty20
  • 01 of 06

    Steak - Raw

    Steak Raw
    Steak Raw. Regarding BBQ Inc.

    To properly gauge when a steak is cooked, you should know something about it before it hits the grill. Familiarizing yourself with the meat will help you learn how it changes as it cooks. I recommend taking a raw steak and getting a feel of it. In its uncooked form, the meat will feel spongy and soft. The fat around the steak will be harder. As the meat cooks, it becomes firmer and increasingly solid through the middle.

    Of course, there is no substitute for a good thermometer.

    Continue to 2 of 6 below.
  • 02 of 06

    Steak - Rare

    Steak Rare
    Steak Rare. Regarding BBQ Inc.

    Internal Temperature 120 to 130 degrees F. (50 to 55 degrees C.)

    A rare steak should be warm through the middle, lightly charred on the outside, browned around the sides and bright red in the middle. The meat should be soft to the touch, much like the raw meat, but browned over the surface. This is the steak for the true carnivore who wants something nearly raw but gets it cooked (as little as possible) to be polite.

    For a 1-inch steak grill as hot as you can and:

    • Place steak on grill for 5 minutes
    • T...MOREurn and continue grilling for another 3 minutes

    Times depend on the grill so watch closely, monitor the temperature, and adjust accordingly until you find the right time for your grill.

    Test for the correct temperature by sticking the probe of a reliable meat thermometer through the side of the steak to the center.

    Continue to 3 of 6 below.
  • 03 of 06

    Steak - Medium Rare

    Steak Medium Rare
    Steak Medium Rare. Derrick Riches

    Internal Temperature 130 to 135 degrees F. (55 to 57 degrees C.)

    A medium rare steak should be warm through the middle with a hint of red. Most of the center of the steak should be pink. The sides should be well browned, the top and bottom caramelized to a dark brown color with good grill marks. This steak should have a firm surface but give towards the middle. It will spring back quickly. This is the recommended level of doneness for a good steak. Ask any chef how they like their steak prepared...MORE and they will almost all, say medium rare.

    For a 1-inch steak grill as hot as you can and:

    • Place steak on grill for 5 minutes
    • Turn and continue grilling for another 4 minutes

    Times depend on the grill so watch closely, monitor the temperature, and adjust accordingly until you find the right time for your grill.

    For more detailed instructions see Grilling Steak Step by Step.

    Test for the correct temperature by sticking the probe of a reliable meat thermometer through the side of the steak to the center.

    Continue to 4 of 6 below.
  • 04 of 06

    Steak - Medium

    Steak Medium
    Steak Medium. Derrick Riches

    Internal Temperature 140 to 150 degrees F. (60 to 65 degrees C.)

    A medium steak should have a thick band of light pink through the middle but, more browned than pink. The sides should be a rich brown color and the top and bottom charred darkly (but no black). This steak should have some play through the middle but feel firm to the touch. If you are grilling for a large group of people this is the best level of doneness that pleases most everyone.

    For a 1-inch steak grill as hot as you can and:

    • Place...MORE steak on grill for 6 minutes
    • Turn and continue grilling for another 4 minutes

    Times depend on the grill so watch closely, monitor the temperature, and adjust accordingly until you find the right time for your grill.

    Test for the correct temperature by sticking the probe of a reliable meat thermometer through the side of the steak to the center.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    Steak - Medium Well

    Steak Medium Well
    Steak Medium Well. Derrick Riches

    Internal Temperature 155 to 165 degrees F. (68 to 74 degrees C.)

    A medium well steak should have a hint of pink in the very middle of the steak. The surface should be a dark brown with good charring on the top and bottom. This steak will be very stiff but still have a little squish in the center. This is the steak for the squeamish who don't want color in their meat. If you can sneak this one in for someone ordering Well you will be doing both of you a favor.

    For a 1-inch steak grill as hot as...MORE you can and:

    • Place steak on grill for 7 minutes
    • Turn and continue grilling for another 5 minutes

    Times depend on the grill so watch closely, monitor the temperature, and adjust accordingly until you find the right time for your grill.

    Test for the correct temperature by sticking the probe of a reliable meat thermometer through the side of the steak to the center.

    Continue to 6 of 6 below.
  • 06 of 06

    Steak - Well

    Steak Well
    Steak Well. Derrick Riches

    Internal Temperature 170 or higher degrees F. (77 or higher degrees C.)

    This steak should NOT be burnt on the outside. While there is not the faintest hint of pink in the middle, it should be browned through, not burnt through. This steak should feel solid to the touch.

    A Well Done steak is the hardest to cook. The secret is to do it low and slow. It's the only way to prevent burning while fully cooking it through the middle. Grill this steak over a medium heat between 10 and 12 minutes per...MORE side.

    Most people will tell you that this is the steak for people who don't like steak. While there is some truth to that, it is a popular request so, any good griller needs to know how to do it.

    Test for the correct temperature by sticking the probe of a reliable meat thermometer through the side of the steak to the center.