Different “Doneness” Levels of Cooked Meat
How would you like it cooked?
This question is probably pretty familiar to you- especially if you order beef or steak from restaurants often. There are a number of levels of cooked meat that you can request at restaurants or aspire to in your own kitchen if you decide to stay at home.
Levels of Cooked Meat: Blue Rare
The blue rare, or extra-rare, meat cooking level is not one that’s typically requested, but it does happen from time to time. It is the least amount you can safely cook your meat before it’s consumed. Here’s a study conducted by the University of Nottingham that goes into a little more depth on the subject of safe rare meat cooking.
To cook meat to the level of “blue rare”, sear your beef or steak for 1 minute on each side. Please use a meat thermometer and ensure that the interior temperature of your cut is between 115-125 °F before serving. A blue rare meat should look very dark- almost purple, on the inside and just warm. It will feel soft with little resistance.
Levels of Cooked Meat: Rare
The rare meat cooking level is more commonly ordered than blue rare, and will sometimes raise a few eyebrows if you’re eating with others.
To cook meat to the level of rare, sear your beef for 1.5 minutes, or until it’s dark red in color with red juice running out. It will be soft and spongey with a little resistance. Please use a meat thermometer and ensure that the interior of your meat is between 125-130 °F.
Levels of Cooked Meat: Medium Rare
This is probably the most commonly ordered of all the levels of cooked meat. You can tell if you’ve achieved the perfect medium-rare cook if your beef or steak is pink in color and a little juice runs out. The meat should be soft, spongey, and a little springy to the touch.
To cook meat to the level of medium-rare, sear it for 2 minutes on each side. Use a meat thermometer and make sure that the interior of your cut is between 130-140 °F. You may also cut your steak and inspect the inside to check the coloration, as well.
Levels of Cooked Meat: Medium
A medium steak should be pale pink in the center with hardly any juice. It will feel firm and springy to the touch.
To achieve a medium cook, sear your meat for about 2.25 minutes on each side. Use a thermometer to make sure that the interior temperature of your meat is between 140-150 °F.
Levels of Cooked Meat: Medium Well
The medium well level should still have the slightest touch of pink in the center, with no juice. It will be firm and slightly springy to the touch.
To achieve the medium well cook, sear for about 3 minutes on each side. Ensure that the interior temp of your cut is between 150 -155 °F.
Levels of Cooked Meat: Well Done
The well-done level is another one that might earn you a few odd looks from dining compatriots, as it’s typically considered dry, overcooked, and less flavorful, but we disagree. It’s actually the most difficult of the doneness levels of cooked meat to achieve because it should be flavorful and moist. Well-done steaks should also only have only the barest trace of pink in the center.
To get the perfect well-done cook, cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side, and ensure that the interior temperature of your meat is 160 °F or above. Just make sure not to overcook it if you’re trying this at home!