Get The Perfect Steak Temperature Without A Meat Thermometer

When I cook beef at home, whether on the hot grill, stovetop, or in the oven, my mind is completely focused on cooking the perfect steak! When you think about, if you step away for a few minutes, you can risk messing up your cooking time and over cooking your steak. And who wants to slice into a dry, rubbery cut of meat? No thank you!

No matter what cooking method you use, knowing the correct cook time for the desired level of doneness can make or break that New York Strip or Skirt Steak.

Of course, there are a few things to remember when purchasing and cooking steak to end up with your best steak ever.

  • You want to buy the best of the best. A nice cut of meat from the butcher or grocery store can be pricey, but it's so important! If you're unsure about what to buy, don't be afraid to talk to your butcher.
  • Allow your meat to come to room temperature and then pat your steak dry with paper towels. This will help form a better crust.
  • Make sure you heat your grill, oven, or cast iron skillet before cooking your meat. You want it to be super hot so you get a nice brown sear on your steak.
  • After cooking, allow it to rest. Cover the steak with foil and let it hang out for a few minutes to keep in all of those delicious juices. If you slice into the steak too soon, those juices will just spill out everywhere. You can also add some olive oil or butter on top of the steak for even more amazing flavor.

Perfect Steak Temperature Doneness Test Hand


I know checking the internal temperature of the thickest part of the steak is pretty easy to do if you have a meat thermometer, but during that process, you're piercing the outer layer of your steak, which can cause it to lose those flavorful juices and dry out.

Instead of reaching for a food thermometer or, even worse, slicing into your steak with a sharp knife (gasp!), keep one of my favorite tricks in the back of your mind. I always use it when I cook steak: ribeye, hanger, filet mignon, porterhouse, you name it, it always works for whichever cut of steak you're using.

This trick always helps give me an idea of the steak doneness and all you need is your hand to figure out the desired doneness. Also known as the hand or press test. Say farewell to dry steak and check out one of the easiest ways to feel if your steak's temperature is exactly where you want it. This trick is also super helpful if you're cooking a bunch of steaks all at different temperatures as well as roasts.

Perfect Steak Temperature Doneness Test Hand
Griller's Spot

Rare steak: Rare steak has a bright red color when you slice into it and has an internal temperature of about 125 degrees. With one hand, bring your thumb and pointer finger together and touch the soft, fleshy part just under your thumb with your finger from the other hand. That's how firm a rare steak should be when you touch it.

Medium-rare steak: Take your thumb and gently press it to your middle finger. When you touch the fleshy part under your thumb, you'll notice it firm up a little. That's how a medium-rare steak should feel when you touch it. It should have an internal temperature of about 130 degrees Fahrenheit and a warm red center.

Medium steak: I'm sure you know what's next! For medium steak, press your thumb and ring finger together. When you touch the part just under your thumb, you'll notice it's pretty firm with just a little spring to it. That's how a medium steak should feel on the outside with a cooking temperature of about 140-145 degrees.

Well-done steak: If you prefer a well-done steak with hardly any red color, press your thumb to your pinky finger. The fleshy part under your thumb should feel firm to the touch. The steak temperature should be around 160 degrees and evenly brown on the outside.

How do you like your steak cooked? Show off this easy trick you your friends and family- you'll get the perfect steak every time and look like a pro!

Originally published May 10, 2018

Watch: Why You Should Drink Pickle Juice