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When Is Done Done?

The “doneness” of beef truly comes down to personal preference, but it’s essential to know when done is done before you fire up the grill. Remember to use a meat thermometer because you can’t rely on finger temp and color to indicate doneness. Insert the meat thermometer through the side of the cut to the center of the meat abiding touching fat or bone. And remove them from the heat when the thermometer is 5°F lower than your desired doneness. They’ll continue to cook, and the temp will continue to rise for a few minutes while they sit. Sitting also allows the juices to be reabsorbed into the meat, resulting in a juicer experience. The USDA recommends steak be cooked to at least 145°F and sit for at least 3 minutes. Ground beef should be cooked to at least 160°F. 

Here’s a quick overview of steak doneness.


Cooked quickly, leaving the center cool and red. If you are wondering, steak doesn’t contain the contaminants that chicken and pork do, so eating it rare doesn’t pose any health risks.

Medium Rare

Warm with a firm sear on the outside and a juicy and soft pink to red in the center. 


A firm outside char but a lot less pink on the inside and a slightly more pronounced pink center.

Medium Well

Cooked pretty thoroughly with just a bit of pale pink for those who want a slightly juicy steak without any blood.


Look, Mom, no pink! Charred on the outside, a greyish-brown all through with no sign of pink. If you like your steak well done, we suggest cooking low and slow to avoid toughening.

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