As a lot of you might be aware, there are several ways to cook steak. Keep in mind that this is not about different cuts or different cooking methods.
That being said, you should know that as a steak cooks, it reaches a different degree of doneness, which also affects its texture and flavor.
And this is what brought you to this guide: the different levels of cooked steak.
You can ask the question of how the different degrees of doneness for steak are achieved.
This is all down to the cooking method used. First and foremost, the heat will affect the steak’s final texture and doneness.
High heat will immediately char the outside, but the inside will remain uncooked. This is the method used to make blue rare steaks.
When it comes to doneness, there are actually six main types of cooked steak, so let’s get right into the different levels of cooked steak.
6 Different Levels of Cooked Steak
According to the USDA, all meat should be cooked to at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit in order to avoid any risk. However, they are safe for consumption if proper precautions are taken.
Blue (bleu) steak is a traditional French cuisine and is a little shy of being completely raw.
It is actually the rarest of doneness and one of the harder cooks to achieve successfully.
It is called blue because it is bluish or purple until, when exposed to air, it changes to red.
This happens due to the fact that the myoglobin gets oxygenated between the time it is cut and when it is bought.
You must cook the cold steak at a high temperature for an extremely short amount of time if you want to pull this off.
It takes around a minute on each side of the steak and a couple of seconds around the edges.
All you want is just a slight sear on the outside, and don’t fret if the inside looks raw. That’s the plan.
Compared to a blue steak, a rare steak is cooked an ounce longer, and it becomes more tender with those additional 60 seconds.
To achieve that desired borderline raw doneness, cook your steak for 2 minutes on each side and a few seconds on the edges.
The intention is for the inside to be around 75% red, and a little blood continues to ooze.
The outer layer should be seared until it darkens. And, as for the middle of your rare steak, it should be cool and red.
Oftentimes, your rare steak will be hot on the outside and lukewarm to cool on the inside. And the core temperature needs to be 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
When it comes to the different levels of cooked steaks, medium rare is one of the trickier levels, given that what you want is half-pink and half-brown on the inside.
I suggest that you cook each side for three and a half minutes because a few seconds longer and the result will be a medium steak.
The core temperature for this level should be around 130–140 degrees F.
A medium-rare steak is warm to the touch. It will stiffen on the outside and remain succulent and soft on the inside immediately after it rests.
This requires practice and plenty of comparing steak cooking times.
Cooking a medium steak is just as difficult, if not more so, than any stage of doneness before it.
For this level, you should cook your steak for four minutes on each side. You will find a strip of pink through the middle. You will also find a small amount of flowing juice.
The internal temp needs to be about 140 degrees Fahrenheit, and it should not have a red center.
Compared to medium-rare and above, medium steak is going to be less tender. But there’s nothing wrong with wanting less blood from your meat.
Medium well steaks surround the texture of leather. It is dry and chewy, and compared to the previous doneness levels, it has a less beefy taste.
You should cook the steak for 5 minutes on both sides, for a total of 10 minutes.
Keep in mind that you might not be able to chew it all if you cook it for 30 seconds longer.
The internal temperature should be 150 degrees Fahrenheit, and the center should be a little pink and tender.
The driest and chewiest level of doneness are the well-done steaks, and according to some of the best grillmasters, they are commonly referred to as ‘over done.’
You will need to cook it to the point that the fat and moisture evaporate in order to achieve this level of doneness.
And 160 degrees F is the temperature you want to cook it at to get it well done. On the outside, you will notice that it starts to sear.
You should not find any pink on the inside; rather, it will be a grayish brown.
Tips for Cooking Steaks
- Before cooking, allow your steak to rest on the counter for 30 minutes to an hour. This allows it to cook to room temp and makes sure that the internal temp reading is accurate. Just season the steak all over with salt and pepper while you are at it.
- Anything with a fine grain is very likely to overseason your steak. Rather, spray on medium-grain sea salt to complement your grilled beef.
- Allow it to rest on a platter for 5 minutes in order to seal in all those juices, then slice it against the grain. This should be done after you remove your steak from the heat.
- Rotate and turn over your steak most of the time while grilling to achieve a nice crust. The grill is not hot enough if your steak is not sizzling.
- Your steak will continue to cook even after you pull it off the grill, thanks to leftover heat. That being the case, when it is five degrees shy of your desired temperature, I suggest you remove your steak from the heat. It will totally cook to your desired doneness while it cools.
Frequently Asked Questions about Different Levels of Cooked Steak
What Is the Doneness Temperature for Steak?
The doneness of the steak is determined by the level of doneness you prefer.
For instance, rare steak cooks to 120 degrees F, medium-rare to 130 degrees Fahrenheit, and medium-well to 150 degrees F.
Is Steak Best Medium Rare?
In my opinion, I consider steak to pull off its best results when cooked to medium-rare, as this steak level prevents possible chewiness and overcooking.
That being said, you can cook steak past medium-rare and still have an enjoyable steak, but this can only be achieved with the right care and cooking methods.
What Is the Best Steak Doneness?
Steak doneness levels come from personal preference, but I recommend that you cook steak to medium-rare.
Medium-rare leaves a pink center in the steak cooked to around 135 degrees Fahrenheit.
Occasionally, the other levels of steak can cause the steak to become chewy and not as flavor-packed.
What Are the 5 Doneness Levels of Steak?
The five steak done levels include rare, medium-rare, medium, medium-well, and well-done.
In addition, some chefs consider blue rare to be a steak doneness level, which creates a very rare steak with a purplish internal blue.
Final Thoughts on Different Levels of Cooked Steak
The best steaks to eat rare include flat iron, top sirloin, and palermo. The marbling makes for a succulent and rare, juicy steak.
Medium-rare is as much as you want to cook one, thanks to the muscular structure of the three cuts.
I hope you are aware that you can freeze your steak. However, if you plan to cook the steak in 3-5 days, I strongly suggest that you just skip the deep freeze.
With that being said, this brings us to the end of this guide on “Different levels of cooked steak.”