Ultimate guide on the internal beef temperature

When you order your favorite steaks from a restaurant, you start relishing the splendid flavors as soon as you have it on your plate. It’s heaven. All you need to do is to tell the waiter or waitress the level of doneness and the chef prepares just the perfect steak for you.

But when you try cooking at home and you aren’t a master chef, you know that’s it’s not easy to replicate that flavor and degree of doneness. Cooking perfect steaks is an art and for that you have to understand the doneness and degrees of doneness very well.

Picture of a steak from the top

What is the doneness of beef?

When you want to know how thoroughly cooked a cut of beef is, you actually check the doneness. Factors such as internal temperature, color and juiciness help determine the beef doneness. 

Everyone’s eating preference varies. Some like it rare, some medium rare or others may like medium or well done. These terms actually set the degrees of doneness. Simply put, it gauges how thoroughly cooked the beef is. You must note that the cooking time can vary depending on the cooking method and cookware used.

Rare cooked Wagyu steak

Some tips to start off

  • Using a reliable digital meat thermometer can help get an accurate temperature.
  • Inserting the probe of the thermometer in the thickest part of the meat is essential.
  • Let the meat rest about for 10 minutes to get the juices flowing back through the meat. This rest period is essential to enhance the flavor. You can use aluminum foil to ensure that the steaks are still warm when serving.

Picture of a steak cooked rare

What's the internal temperature of a rare cooked steak?

Rare steaks are cooked to the minimum. The color of the beef is blood-red in the center and still very pink away from the center. The beef is cooked really quickly, but it is somewhat warm in the center. When grilled on high heat, the surface becomes gray to brown with noticeable grill marks. The sensation is a bit fleshy, but your meat is juicy and tender at the same time.

The temperature range of beef cooked rare is 120oF (48.889°C).

For a rare internal temperature, many people remove the steak from the grill when it reaches 115oF (46.111 °C). The reason lies in the fact that the internal temperature of the steak still rises slightly after removing it from the cooking surface. 

Beef cooked to medium rare

What's the internal temperature of a medium rare steak?

Many call it the golden standard in cooking. This is the most common doneness expected at the restaurants and even at home. Medium rare steaks have a warm, pink center with no blood-red areas. While the outer edges fade, the surface is nicely brown when cooked on high heat. The steak has a tell-tale structure, with a juicy slightly darker center. The tasting sensation is tender and flavorful.

You may remove a medium rare steak from the heat source when it reaches the internal temperature of 130℉ (54,444 °C)

T-Bone steak from the top

How do I get a perfectly medium cooked steak?

Medium doneness leaves just a slight red color in the center. Rather the meat is pink in the center and only light pink around the edges, gradually becoming gray-brown towards the edges. When the beef is cooked to medium doneness, the surface looks nicely brown all over. However, it attains a firm texture, but still remains somewhat tender. It’s a preferred option for people who avoid red or too much juices flowing out of the meat. Obviously, the meat has to be cooked to a slightly higher temperature to achieve medium doneness.

The steak must be off the heat when it reaches 135℉ (57.222°C). That being said, many don’t mind their steak reaching an internal temperature of 140℉ (60°C).

Picture of a steak on a plate

How do I achieve a well done cook on my steak?

Medium well and well done steaks can be a little difficult to perfect. Even slight overcooking can turn the meat chewy and dry.

The center of the meat has no pink. It’s gray-brown throughout. The surface is beautifully crusty and flavorful. However, chefs usually recommend using cuts of beef with plenty of marbling and natural juiciness to achieve better results with well-done steaks. As lean cuts dry out quickly, they may not be preferred. But, tendering these cuts with marinating can lessen the effect of cooking at well done temperature.

The ideal temperature when the beef should come off the heat is 155℉ (68.333°C).

Picture of grilled Wagyu beef

Conclusive note

When it comes to cooking beef to your likings, there should be no guess work. There’s nothing more disappointing than overcooking the steaks. Keep a meat thermometer handy while cooking. Order your favorite steaks from OS Meatshop and enjoy the perfect flavor with this helpful guide on beef doneness.

Happy cooking!

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