Grilling a steak may appear to be an easy chore, but there is some skill involved, especially when it comes to steak temperatures and doneness. The thickness of the steak, as well as the heat of the grill, will affect how long it takes to cook,1 but whether it’s a 1 1/2-inch thick porterhouse or a thin flank steak, the internal temperature is what defines when it’s done. Each level of doneness has a target temperature that may be tested using a meat thermometer, ranging from rare to well.
To ensure that the meat cooks evenly, let it to get to room temperature before placing it on the grill. (Place the packed steak on the counter about a half-hour to 45 minutes before cooking.) This guarantees that the entire steak is the same temperature throughout, allowing it to cook evenly and preventing a burned outside with a chilly inside.
Steak Grilling Times and Steak Temperatures
Rare: 120 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit; 5 minutes each side, then 3 minutes per side; remove from grill when temperature reaches 125 degrees Fahrenheit.
Medium-rare: 130 to 135 degrees Fahrenheit; 5 minutes per side, then 4 minutes per side; remove from grill when temperature reaches 130 degrees Fahrenheit.
Medium: 140-150°F; 6 minutes each side, then 4 minutes per side; remove from grill when temperature reaches 145°F.
Medium-Well: 155 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit; 7 minutes each side, then 5 minutes per side; remove from grill when temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Well: 170°F or higher; 12 minutes each side, then 10 minutes per side; remove from grill when temperature reaches 165°F.
What Is a Meat Thermometer and How Do I Use It?
Because testing the interior temperature of the meat is the best way to tell when a steak is done, utilizing an instant-read thermometer is essential. To check the temperature, insert the thermometer probe into the thickest portion of the meat, away from fat, bone, or gristle. It’s crucial to remember that the meat will continue to cook with residual heat (carry over cooking) for around 5 degrees after it’s removed from the grill. So, if you want a final internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit, take the steak off the fire at around 155 degrees Fahrenheit, give or take.
Rare Steak Temperatures
A rare steak is rarely ordered; it is reserved for the real carnivore who wants something practically raw but cooked as little as possible. A rare steak should be warm in the center, mildly charred on the exterior, browned on the sides, and brilliant red in the center. The flesh should be tender to the touch, similar to raw meat, but browned on the surface.
Grill a 1-inch steak for 5 minutes on a hot grill. Turn the grill and cook for another 3 minutes. Cook until the internal temperature reaches 120-130 degrees Fahrenheit (49 to 55 C).
Medium Rare Steak Temperatures
This is the preferred amount of doneness for a nice steak; ask any chef how they want their steak cooked, and virtually all will answer medium rare. A medium rare steak should be warm through the center, with the majority of the center pink with a hint of red. The sides should be nicely toasted, and the top and bottom should be caramelized to a dark brown hue with beautiful grill marks. The hard surface of this steak should yield slightly toward the center (it will spring back quickly).
Place a 1-inch steak on a hot grill for 5 minutes. Turn the grill and cook for another 4 minutes, or until the interior temperature reaches 130 to 135 degrees Fahrenheit (55 to 57 C).
Medium Steak Temperatures
If you’re grilling for a large gathering, this level of doneness usually pleases the majority of folks. A medium-cooked steak should have a thick band of pale pink running through the center, but it should be more browned than pink overall. The sides should be a deep brown hue, with a dark char on the top and bottom (but not black). This steak will have some give in the centre but will be solid to the touch.
Place a 1-inch steak on a hot grill for 6 minutes. Grill for another 4 minutes, or until an internal temperature of 140 to 150 F (60 to 66 C) is attained.
Medium Well Steak Temperatures
This level of doneness is appropriate for individuals who do not like a lot of pink in their meat. A medium well steak should have a hint of pink in the center, a dark brown surface, and excellent charring on the top and bottom. The steak will be extremely firm but still squishy in the center.
Place a 1-inch steak on a hot grill for 7 minutes. Turn the grill and cook for another 5 minutes. Cook until the internal temperature reaches 155 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit (68 to 74 C).
Well Steak Temperatures (Well Done)
Well-done steak has a negative reputation, with some chefs reluctant to cook the meat to this level of doneness. It may appear that well done is the easiest to prepare, but it is the most difficult since cooking until the meat is no longer pink while not drying it out is difficult. The key is to cook it low and slow, since this is the only method to avoid scorching while thoroughly cooking it through the centre.
The outside of this steak should not be browned. While there should be no trace of pink in the center, it should be browned through rather than burned through. This steak will have a firm feel to it.
Grill a 1-inch steak over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes per side. It should achieve an internal temperature of 170 degrees Fahrenheit (77 degrees Celsius) or greater.
Resting Your Steak and How To Finish Your Steak Preparation Properly
So you’ve chosen the greatest steak, well-seasoned it, prepared it for the grill, and cooked it to a beautiful medium-rare. Is it yet ready to serve? No, not exactly. There is one more step to preparing a wonderfully juicy steak.
Before serving, let the steak to rest for 5 to 7 minutes. This has nothing to do with tiredness and everything to do with wanting the steak to be as juicy as possible.
Consider steak to be a collection of little cells, each one packed with juice. When you cook it, the heat forces those tiny cells to contract, forcing the fluids to the center of the steak, where it is colder. Consider a water balloon. When you squeeze one end, the water flows to the other. So the heat from the grill is represented by your hand squeezing the balloon.
Fortunately, if you’ve cooked the steak properly, the way those tiny cells are compressed is just momentary. If the cells are allowed to cool for a few minutes, they will return to their original shape, and the fluids will migrate back from the center to be dispersed throughout the steak. If you overcook a steak, those tiny cells will not bounce back in the same way and will thus be unable to reabsorb the fluids. Of course, much of the fluids in an overcooked steak will have evaporated anyhow.
The purpose of resting a steak is to allow it to cool.
As with so many aspects of steak preparation, there is a critical temperature involved in resting a steak. The objective of resting is to enable the hot steak to cool to around 120 F to 125 F. The cells have relaxed sufficiently at that temperature for the fluids to flow back in.
Prepare to forget about the 125 F rule now that you’ve learned about it. You didn’t use a thermometer when you cooked steak to 135 degrees Fahrenheit for medium-rare. Poking a hole in the flesh will allow all of the fluids to escape. This is true whether the steak is on the grill or resting on a dish, which is plainly the reverse of what we’re aiming for.
Steak Resting Procedures
Allowing a steak to rest for about the same amount of time as it was cooked is a good rule of thumb. Another rule of thumb is to allow it to rest for 5 minutes for every inch of thickness. (A 1 1/2-inch thick steak is ideal.) Some chefs recommend resting meats for 10 minutes each pound. As you can see, all of these policies essentially state the same thing. Allow your steak to rest for 5 to 7 minutes before chopping it.
One method for resting steaks is to remove them from the grill, place them on a cutting board, and then tent them with a large piece of foil. You may then take the remaining 5 to 7 minutes to make a sauce, make a salad, prepare your baked potatoes, arrange the table, or anything you like. And if you’re so far ahead of schedule that you don’t have anything else to do, you may unwind for 5 to 7 minutes with a pleasant beverage.
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