Degrees of Doneness

Cooking times and temperatures vary with the method of preparation used, the size and shape of the meat cut and the desired degree of doneness.

Rare 140° F
Medium Rare 150° F
Medium 160° F
Medium Well 165° F
Well 170° F

The doneness of steaks can also be checked using the “firmness to touch” method in which the steak is compared to the human hand. For rare, the steak would feel about the same as the muscle between the thumb and the index finger of the hand in a relaxed state. For medium, feel the same muscle of the hand when it is stretched out. And, for well-done firmness, feel the muscle when the hand is clenched into a fist.

“Firmness to Touch” Method

The hand is in an open, relaxed state. Press the large thumb muscle between the thumb and index finger, and it will feel like a rare steak.

Stretch out your hand. Press the same muscle and it will feel like a steak cooked to medium doneness.

Clench a tight fist, and the thumb muscle will feel like a well-done steak.

Test roasts for doneness using a meat thermometer placed so the tip is in the center of the roast, not touching bone or resting in fat. Remove the meat from the oven when the thermometer registers 5-10° F lower than the desired doneness, as the temperature will rise after it comes out of the oven. A quick-read thermometer can also be used in roasts and is often used in testing steaks for doneness.