How to tell when your steak is perfectly cooked

Nikki Stephens

Having trouble telling whether your steak is done to the level you like? Sure, thermometers are great, but they puncture the steak which lets out all those lovely juices. So if you want to avoid this travesty AND save yourself a bit of time, the touch test is the way to go.

This is a little cheat that we have been blessed with from one of our chef friends.

According to cooking guru Harold McGee, doneness of meat is best determined by a cooks eye and nger. For those who have cooked steaks before, youll know that steaks get firmer to the touch the longer they are cooked. It can take a little while to get the hang of, and its pretty subjective, but once you master it, youll have perfectly cooked steaks each and every time.

Heres what you need to know:

  • Start with your hand open, your palm facing you. Touch your forefinger from the other hand to the fleshy pad underneath your thumb. It should feel loose and soft (otherwise, maybe see a doctor) this is what raw meat feels like.
  • For blue meat a piece thats only seared on the surface while the insides are warmed though, touch your forefinger from the other hand to the fleshy pad underneath your thumb;
  • For rare, touch your forefinger, on the same hand, to the fleshy pad and youll notice it will feel slightly firm;
  • For the ever popular medium rare, touch your middle finger to the pad under the thumb.
  • For medium-well, touch the tip of your ring finger on that same fleshy pad;
  • And finally, for well-done steak, touch your little finger to the pad.

Feel the differences? Neat trick, huh. If touching steak isnt your thing though, dont fret. A thermometer will do just fine in helping you nail your desired level of doneness. The most important thing to remember is to always probe the thickest part of the meat and insert the thermometer from the side.

If youre keen for some more info, chef genius Heston Blumenthal recommends the following temperatures to help you become a master at cooking steaks. (Also, just fyi, according to theUnited States Department of Agriculture, the only completely accurate way to measure doneness of meat is with a thermometer. So dont feel bad if you stick with this method.)

For Beef and Veal:

Rare 50C

Medium rare 55C

Medium 60C

Medium well 65C

Well done 70C

And there you have it! Choose either method and enjoy the steak of your dreams. If you need any further tips, our friendly staff are more than willing to chat about steak. Its pretty much their favourite subject, lets be honest.