If you suddenly crave hitting a steakhouse, grill, bistro or kosher restaurants in Manhattan to get a perfectly grilled steak, you need to know the doneness level you want it to have. Most restos will ask you how you like your steak. With every degree, you get a different texture, firmness, and richness in flavor. It is entirely dependent upon the preparation method, the time it takes to cook, the temperature, the amount of fat, the cut, and the steak grade.
If you have not got the slightest clue about what to order, you do not need to worry! Here are the three most popular doneness levels that people usually order:
If you want to feel like a true carnivore, then you would choose a rare steak. When you select this level of doneness, the steak will only be slightly cooked. It is mostly raw, so it is only lightly browned on the outside and the sides to make it look charred. Hence, the browning is just surface level. But, it is bright red in the middle. When it is served, you will notice that it is warm through the center but not flaming hot. The meat is soft and pillowy because it is like raw meat.
What the chefs do is, they place the steak on a hot grill (50-55 C or 120-130 F) to cook one side for only 5 minutes. Then, they turn it on the other side to continue grilling it. They wait another 3 minutes to get it browned.
For every chef, the best level of doneness is medium rare. It is highly recommended to get a deliciously cooked steak. Most people choose this when they are asked how they like their steak prepared. Similar to rare steak, this level of doneness gets the meat warm throughout the middle. But, the main difference is the center is mostly pink with only a tiny hint of red. The outside (top and bottom) should have good grill marks in dark brown color. The surface will have a give when you push down, but it will spring back quickly.
To cook your medium rare steak, they will put a 1-inch steak on a grill for five minutes. Then, it is flipped and cooked for another 4 minutes until it reaches an internal temp of 55 to 57 C or 130 to 135 F.
For the squeamish, this is for you. Well done steaks only have the faintest hint of blush pink in them. However, they should not be, in any way, burnt. It takes a lot of time to cook this since cooking it needs to be done with low heat and slow. The restaurant will cook your 1-inch steak for approximately 10-12 minutes on each side until it reaches the internal temp of 77 C or 170 F.
These are the three most popular doneness levels of steak. If you want, you can try all of them to see which one is your favorite.
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