Do you know how to tell if a steak is rare, medium or well done? Because meat gets firmer as it’s cooked, you can test meat by touch.
There are three basic touch tests — touching the palm of your hand, your fist and your face.
Yes, you could use a meat thermometer. They are great tools and we have one in our kitchen, but we prefer touch.
Why? We don’t want to puncture the meat and lose any of its juices. The touch test is subjective, but once you get the hang of it you’ll cook the perfect steak every time, and you’ll be sure to keep all of the juices in the steak until you’re ready to eat it.
Method 1: Palm of your Hand
Hold your hand out, palm up. Poke the base of your hand by the base of the thumb. What does it feel like? If you guessed raw meat, you’re right.
Now, make an OK sign with your hand by touching your forefinger and thumb together. Feel the same part of your hand. It’s a little firmer. This is how meat feels when it’s rare.
You’re now going to move to your other fingers, and as you do, you’ll notice the pad of your hand will get progressively firmer.
Touch your middle finger to the tip of your thumb. That’s how a medium rare steak feels.
Next, touch the tip of your ring finger to your thumb. This is what a medium-well will feel like.
Last but not least, touch your pinky to your thumb. That’s the equivalent of a well-done steak.
Method 2: Make a Fist
You can also do a touch test by making a fist.
First, make a relaxed fist. The fleshy area of your hand between your thumb and forefinger is soft, which is how a rare steak feels.
If you slightly clench your fist, it’s a little firmer like medium doneness.
Clench your fist tightly and the area will feel like well-done.
Method 3: Face Test
Your third option is the face test. Personally, we like methods 1 and 2 the best, but some people really like touching their face.
When your face is relaxed (don’t smile), touch your finger to your cheek. A rare steak is soft like your check
Next, touch your chin. Notice that it’s fleshy with some resistance. This is similar to medium doneness.
If you like a steak that’s medium, or with a pink center, you’ll want it will be similar to when you touch the end of your nose.
Lastly, touch your forehead, it’s firmer, which is like well done.
If you’re not ready to do the touch test…
As you become familiar with the touch test, it may help to have a thermometer nearby. You can touch the steak first, and decide what you think it is. Then, check yourself with a meat thermometer. If you decide to go with an instant read thermometer, here are your temperatures for doneness:
Extra Rare – 115-120 degrees
Rare – 125-130 degrees
Medium Rare – 135-140 degrees
Medium 145-150 degrees
Medium-Well – 155-160 degrees
Well Done – 165 degrees