If you’ve never explored the options of steak doneness and want to venture outside of your comfort zone, you may not know where to start. The five degrees of doneness — rare, medium rare, medium, medium well, and well done — refer to the internal temperature a steak reaches. It affects texture, juiciness, and flavor, and while there’s no definitive best way, it’s worth trying something new during your next visit to your favorite local steakhouse.
The 5 Doneness Levels of Cooking Steak
A rare steak sits at 120 degrees and has a warm, noticeably red or pink center. It maintains most of its fat, which is why it’s best to go for a higher doneness when eating marbled cuts like porterhouses or rib-eyes. If you’re giving a rare steak a try for the first time, consider a lean sirloin cut.
2. Medium Rare
A medium rare steak is one of the most common doneness levels ordered at many steakhouses. It achieves the ideal blend of tenderness and flavor for many people, especially since the fats have just begun to melt at 130 degrees. The meat is very tender, though some find it chewier than more well-done cooking levels. New York Strip and Filet Mignon cuts are often served at this doneness.
The United State Department of Agriculture advises that raw beef should be cooked to 140-145 degrees, which is what a medium steak achieves. The center has been cooked to pink-brown color, and the steak captures the flavor of a medium-rare steak with less juiciness. Many T-bone steaks are served medium.
4. Medium Well
When you cook past medium, steaks begin to lose their moisture and, in turn, their tenderness. At 150 degrees, parents often serve children their meal at this temperature for USDA adherences.
5. Well Done
At 160 degrees, a steak is considered well done. The steak should still retain its flavor well and won’t sacrifice safety at any degree for it, but most of the moisture and fat is gone, resulting in a dry, tougher texture. Some steakhouse menus even warn against ordering a well-done steak for quality.
If you’re ready to try your steak at a different doneness, stop by Gondola Pizza and Steak House. They’ve been serving a delicious selection of Italian and Greek food for over 40 years and are proud to be a staple in the Crossville, TN, community. Whether you want a steakhouse dinner or a pizza lunch, you’ll find plenty on their menu, which you can explore online. Call (931) 484-7647 for more information.