Do You Know When Your Meat Is Medium-Rare?
It is essential you know the internal temperatures of the foods you are cooking. So here is a meat doneness chart to help guide you when trying to figure out when a food should be removed from heat to reach ideal temperature.
Trying to cook based on times given in a recipe is a mistake that I make all the time. There are so many variables that go into cooking times that it is impossible to know when a piece of meat is ready to come off the saute pan, grill or out of the oven.
The biggest mistake most home cooks make is not to account for resting time. Heck, most of us don't even realize they need to let meat or poultry rest for a period of time so the juices redistribute into the meat.
Professional chefs have told me they know when something is done just by touching it, but they still carry and rely on their instant thermometers.
Cooking anything to perfection requires knowing when it reaches the ideal internal temperature before and after resting. These temperature are a good guide but if you find your prefer your medium-rare steak a little more done, adjust the temps to suit your personal tastes.
Meat Temperatures & Doneness Chart
The "Remove" temperature on the left is the target temperature to remove from heat source. The "Ideal" temperature on the right is the ideal internal temperature after resting. These temperatures are all Fahrenheit. Note, these are not USDA Recommendations. The USDA temperatures are conservatively 10º - 15º higher because of food safety but not many professional chefs are cooking your medium-rare steak to 150º F. You would send it back in an instant.