Use this steak temperature guide to help you determine the best steak doneness for you!
Let’s be honest. There are fewer things better than a well-made steak. Now you can master the art of steak perfection right in your backyard. Whether using a grill or a cast-iron skillet, this guide will help you cook a phenomenal steak. Before you start, you should know your preferred steak doneness (rare, medium-rare, medium, etc.). When in doubt, opt for medium-rare. Keep in mind that this is a learning process, so it might take a few cookouts to get the timing and temperature right.
Let your steak come to room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking. Do not, I repeat, do not thaw your steaks in the microwave. I recommend taking them from the freezer the night before and placing them into the refrigerator to thaw.
Season your steak right before cooking—this step is crucial for forming a delicious, flavorful crust. I recommend using one teaspoon of salt per pound of meat. A salt and black pepper rub will work wonders, but you can add savory items like onion or garlic powder to the mix. Apply seasonings onto both sides of the steak, don’t forget the edges! Cook as directed.
Have a good quality instant-read thermometer ready to check the internal temperature. Check the steak by inserting the thermometer midway into the center (or thickest portion) of the steak.
STEAK TEMPERATURE GUIDE:
Rare: An internal temperature of 120 degrees F. or 50 C. The center should be bright red and cool (or just barely warm), and springy to the touch. The texture is quite tender, and chewy.
Medium-Rare: An internal temperature of 130 degrees F. or 55 C. The middle of the steak is bright red and warm, though not quite as springy. This temperature is considered the gold standard for steak doneness.
Medium: An internal temperature of 140 degrees F. or 60 C. The steak center appears bright pink and feels firm.
Medium-Well: Look for an internal temperature of 150 degrees F. or 65 C. The center should appear primarily brown with a faint pink color.
Well Done: Anything over 160 degrees F. or 70 degrees C. Center is brown, and the steak is quite firm with a dry texture.
Recommended steak doneness:
Now that you are familiar with the various steak temperature options, the next step is determining what temperature works best for different steaks.
Filet Mignon: Most filets are 1″-1 1/2″ thick and have a wonderfully tender texture and beefy flavor. Since this cut is so lean, it’s best to cook them to an internal temperature of 135-140 degrees F, or medium-rare to medium doneness. That means grilling them for 7-9 minutes per side. Try our recipe for Grilled Filet Mignon with Herb Compound Butter
New York Strip: If you’re looking for a steak with a more robust beef flavor, then this cut is the one for you. Most New York Strips are around 1″ thick and best cooked to 145 degrees F, or medium doneness. Cook these steaks hot and fast, at 5-7 minutes per side. Try our recipe for Pellet Grill New York Strip
Ribeye Steaks: These steaks are delicious, beefy, and well-marbled. The recommended temperature for ribeye steaks is 135-140 degrees or medium-rare to medium doneness. Grill these steaks for about 6-7 minutes per side, depending on thickness. Try our recipe for Delmonico Steak
Tomahawk Steak: These steaks are impressive! Tomahawks are quite similar in flavor to the ribeye steak but are thicker and larger. Cook these steaks over indirect heat for 12-14 minutes per side, then reverse sear them over direct heat at the end. Recommended steak doneness is an internal temperature of 135-145 or medium-rare to medium. Try our recipe for Grilled Tomahawk Steaks
T-Bone and Porterhouse: These steaks are traditional favorites and make great choices for those who love all that beefy goodness these two large steaks have to offer. These amazing steaks can be cooked to any temperature, but anywhere between 130-150 degrees F, or medium-rare to medium-well is recommended. Try our recipe for Quick n’ Easy T-Bone Steaks
Top Sirloin Steak: This steak has a robust beefy flavor and is best cooked hot and fast. Depending on thickness, 5-7 minutes per side over medium-high heat will do the trick. Aim for an internal temperature between 140-145 degrees F or medium doneness. Try our recipe for Grilled Sirloin Flap Steak
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