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Steak 101

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The amount of time a steak is cooked is based upon personal preference; shorter cooking times retain more juice, whereas longer steak cooking times result in drier, tougher meat but reduce concerns about disease. A vocabulary has evolved to describe the degree to which a steak is cooked. The following terms are in order from least cooked to most cooked:

doneness chart2

Raw — Uncooked. Used in dishes like steak tartare, Carpaccio, gored gored, tiger meat and kitfo.

Seared, Blue rare or very rare — Cooked very quickly; the outside is seared, but the inside is usually cool and barely cooked. The steak will be red on the inside and barely warmed. Sometimes asked for as "blood rare" or "bloody as hell". In the United States, this is also sometimes referred to as 'Black and Blue' or 'Pittsburgh Rare'. It is common for chefs to place the steak in an oven to warm the inside of the steak. This method generally means 'blue' steaks take longer to cook than any other degrees.

Rare — (52 C [125 F] core temperature) The outside is gray-brown, and the middle of the steak is red and slightly warm.

Medium rare — (55 C [130 F] core temperature) The steak will have a fully red, warm center. This is the standard degree of cooking at most steakhouses, unless specified otherwise.

Medium — (60 C [140 F] core temperature) The middle of the steak is hot and red with pink surrounding the center. The outside is gray-brown.

Medium well done — (65 C [150 F] core temperature) The meat is light pink surrounding the center.

Well done — (71 C [160 F] and above core temperature) The meat is gray-brown throughout and slightly charred.

Overcook — (much more than 71 C [160 F] core temperature) The meat is dark throughout and slightly bitter.