Different Levels of Cooked Steak

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Have you ever sunk your teeth into a perfectly cooked steak, the tender juices flowing with each bite?

Picture this: you’re at a fancy restaurant, the dim lighting casting a warm glow on the tablecloth.

The waiter approaches, a sizzling plate of meat in hand. Your mouth waters with anticipation as they describe the different levels of cooked steak, from rare to well done.

Each level offers a unique sensory experience, from the melt-in-your-mouth tenderness of medium rare to the hearty char of Pittsburgh-style.

Get ready to embark on a culinary journey through the various stages of steak perfection.

Key Takeaways

  • Rare and medium rare steak retains more natural flavor and essential nutrients compared to well-done cuts.
  • The best cuts for medium steak are chosen and cooked using the reverse sear method for even cooking and moisture retention.
  • Medium well steak is less pink in the center but still retains juiciness, and cuts with more marbling are preferred.
  • Well done steak is cooked to a higher internal temperature for thorough cooking, but may result in loss of moisture and tenderness.


Rare steak is cooked to an internal temperature of 125°F. This level of doneness offers a unique experience for meat lovers. Not only does a rare steak have a juicy and tender texture, but it also retains more of its natural flavor compared to well-done cuts.

There are even some health benefits to enjoying a rare steak. The meat contains essential nutrients such as iron, zinc, and vitamin B12, which are important for maintaining a healthy body.

To cook a rare steak to perfection, start by choosing a high-quality cut and bringing it to room temperature before grilling or searing. Sear the steak on high heat for a few minutes on each side, then let it rest for a few minutes to allow the juices to redistribute.

Medium Rare

Medium rare steak is a popular choice among meat lovers. It’s that perfect balance between a juicy, tender interior and a slightly charred, flavorful exterior. When it comes to grilling techniques, medium rare is the Goldilocks zone. It requires precision and attention to detail to achieve that ideal doneness.

The best cuts of meat for medium rare are ones that have a good amount of marbling, like ribeye or strip steak. The fat melts as it cooks, infusing the meat with rich flavor and keeping it moist.

To achieve the perfect medium rare steak, start by preheating your grill to high heat. Sear the steak for a couple of minutes on each side, then move it to indirect heat and continue grilling until the internal temperature reaches 135°F. Let it rest for a few minutes before slicing and enjoy the succulent, mouthwatering goodness.


When grilling your steak, you’ll want to make sure it’s cooked to your liking.

If you prefer a steak that is a little more cooked but still juicy and tender, then medium is the perfect doneness level for you. Medium steak is cooked to an internal temperature of around 145°F, giving it a slightly pink and warm center.

This level of doneness allows the flavors to develop and the juices to distribute evenly throughout the meat.

To achieve a medium steak, you can use the reverse sear method, which involves cooking the steak at a lower temperature first and then finishing it off with a quick sear on high heat.

This technique ensures that the steak is cooked evenly and retains its moisture, resulting in a delicious and satisfying meal.

Medium Well

If you prefer your steak with a bit less pink in the center, medium well is the ideal doneness level for you. This level of doneness ensures that your steak is cooked through, yet still retains some juiciness.

Here are some tips on achieving the perfect medium well steak:

  1. Choose the right cut of meat: Opt for cuts that are slightly more marbled, such as ribeye or strip steak. The extra fat helps keep the meat moist and prevents it from drying out on the grill.

  2. Preheat your grill: Make sure your grill is nice and hot before you start cooking. This will help sear the steak quickly, locking in all the juices.

  3. Use a meat thermometer: To ensure that your steak reaches the desired doneness, invest in a good meat thermometer. Insert it into the thickest part of the steak, and remove it from the grill when it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C).

  4. Let it rest: Once your steak is cooked to medium well, let it rest for a few minutes before slicing into it. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a more flavorful and tender steak.

Well Done

Achieving a well done steak requires cooking it to a higher internal temperature to ensure it is thoroughly cooked throughout. While some may argue that a well done steak is overcooked and lacks flavor, there are certain benefits to this level of cooking.

One of the main advantages is the reduced risk of foodborne illnesses. Cooking the steak to a higher temperature helps kill any bacteria that may be present. However, it is important to note that cooking meat to well done can lead to a loss of moisture and tenderness.

To combat this, it is recommended to use cooking methods that retain moisture, such as braising or slow cooking. These methods allow the steak to cook slowly, resulting in a moist and flavorful well done steak.

Blue Rare

To enjoy a blue rare steak, you should sear it quickly on high heat to achieve a rare center while maintaining a cool, blue interior. This method of cooking is not for the faint of heart, as the steak will be incredibly rare and almost raw in the center. However, if you’re a true steak connoisseur, this is the pinnacle of meat perfection.

Here are some tips for cooking a blue rare steak without overcooking it:

  1. Use a hot skillet or grill to quickly sear the steak on each side, creating a flavorful crust while keeping the inside cool.

  2. Make sure the steak is at room temperature before cooking to ensure even cooking throughout.

  3. Keep a close eye on the cooking time, as blue rare steaks cook very quickly. A minute or two on each side should be enough.

  4. Let the steak rest for a few minutes after cooking to allow the juices to redistribute and the flavors to develop.


When cooking a Pittsburgh-style steak, you should sear it on high heat to create a charred exterior while keeping the inside juicy and tender. This unique cooking technique originated in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and has gained popularity over the years for its bold flavors and satisfying textures.

The history of Pittsburgh-style steak dates back to the steel mills era, where steelworkers would cook their steaks on high heat to mimic the intense heat of the steel furnaces. This method creates a delicious crust on the outside of the steak while allowing the inside to remain perfectly cooked.

The result is a steak that is rich in flavor, with a smoky char that adds depth to every bite. So next time you’re craving a steak, try cooking it Pittsburgh-style for a truly memorable dining experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Some Popular Side Dishes or Accompaniments for Each Level of Cooked Steak?

Popular side dishes and accompaniments for each level of cooked steak vary, but some favorites include garlic mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, and a crisp green salad. As for sauces, a classic béarnaise or a tangy chimichurri are always a hit. Different cooking techniques and achieving the perfect sear are essential for a mouthwatering steak.

Is It Safe to Consume a Steak Cooked to Rare or Medium Rare?

Is it safe to eat a rare or medium rare steak? Absolutely! Contrary to popular belief, cooking steak to these levels doesn’t mean it’s unsafe. Just make sure it’s properly cooked to minimize any health risks.

Can I Request a Specific Level of Doneness When Ordering a Steak at a Restaurant?

You absolutely can request a specific level of doneness when ordering a steak at a restaurant. It’s all about your personal ordering preferences and the restaurant’s cooking techniques. Don’t be afraid to speak up and get your steak cooked just the way you like it!

Are There Any Health Benefits or Drawbacks Associated With Consuming Steak Cooked to Different Levels of Doneness?

Different levels of cooked steak offer unique health benefits and drawbacks. For example, a medium-rare steak retains more nutrients while still being juicy and flavorful. It’s all about finding the perfect balance for your taste preferences and overall well-being.

How Does the Cooking Time Vary for Each Level of Cooked Steak?

When cooking steak to different levels of doneness, the cooking time varies. The key is to monitor the cooking temperature and rely on visual cues such as color and texture to determine the desired level of doneness.


So there you have it, folks! Now you know all about the different levels of cooked steak.

From the tender and juicy rare, to the perfectly pink medium rare, and all the way to the well-done crowd favorite.

Whether you prefer your steak with a touch of pink or charred to perfection, there’s a level of doneness for everyone.

So next time you’re at a steakhouse, don’t be afraid to order your steak just the way you like it, because remember, life’s too short to eat overcooked steak!