Grilling a steak is one of the best ways to cook it. But how do you know when your grilled steak is done?
There are a few different ways to tell, and the best way depends on your preferences.
If you like your steak rare, you’ll want to cook it for less time than if you like it medium-rare or well-done.
In this post are some tips for how to tell when your grilled steak is done.
Ways to check grilled steak for doneness
There are a few ways to tell when your grilled steak is done. You can use a meat thermometer, you can check for juices running clear, or you can use the touch test.
Use a Meat Thermometer to Check Steak Doneness
Using an instant-read digital meat thermometer is the best way to determine when steaks are done to the appropriate doneness.
Every kitchen should have a quality meat thermometer, and it’s important to calibrate it before using it.
Insert the thermometer probe into the middle of the thickest part of the steak, away from fatty parts or thick bones, and keep it in the steak for at least 2-3 seconds to get an accurate read.
Check the read of the thermometer to determine if your steak is done, and if not, keep cooking and repeat as needed.
Keep in mind that the steak will keep cooking itself after it’s been removed from the heat source for about 5 to 10 degrees F.
If the desired temperature is 150°F, remove the steak from the heat at about 145°F and let it rest for at least 3 minutes before cutting.
With this easy trick, you’ll never over (or under) cook your steak again!
Check the juices
Another way to tell when a grilled steak is done is to check the juices. If you cut open the steak and the juices are bright red, this indicates a rare steak.
If the juices are light pink, the steak is medium rare. For a medium steak, the juices should be almost clear.
A well-done steak has no pink juices and is completely cooked.
If you are looking to try something new, check out my steak quesadilla recipe.
Check the texture
To tell if a grilled steak is done by texture, you can do a touch test. A rare steak should be soft, red, and juicy on the inside, with a little char on the outside.
Medium-rare should look pink on the inside, with a small amount of redness in the middle. For medium, look for light pink in the middle and edges with brownish cooked areas.
Medium-well should have a faint or pale pink color in the middle with mostly gray-brown color on the outside.
Well-done steak should be brownish-gray with no pink in the center.
You can also use the face test by pressing your finger to your cheek (for rare) and chin (for medium), or your nose (medium) and forehead (well done).
To get an accurate reading, however, use an instant-read thermometer to test for the correct temperature.
Stick it in the thickest part, away from fat, bone, or gristle, and remove the steak from the heat at about 5 degrees lower than the desired internal temperature.
If you ever find yourself asking why is my steak chewy, look no further, I have the answers to help figure out what you might be doing wrong.
Grill Times and Temperature for Steak
Grilling steak can be a quick and easy process, especially if you know the right grill times and temperatures for the desired doneness.
To grill a 1-inch thick steak over direct heat, set your grill to a medium-high temperature of 400-500°F and preheat for 15 minutes.
To achieve rare doneness, aim for an internal temperature of 120-130°F, which should take around 2.5 minutes per side.
For medium-rare, you want an internal temperature of 130-135°F, which should take around 3.5 minutes per side.
For medium doneness, aim for an internal temperature of 135-145°F, which should take around 4.5 minutes per side.
For well-done doneness, you want to reach an internal temperature of 145-155°F, which should take around 5.5 minutes per side.
Learn more specifically about how to tell when a grilled flank steak is done.
Why do steaks have to rest
It is important to rest your steak after grilling it because it allows the moisture that has been pushed out of the muscle fibers to redistribute through the steak.
It also allows for carryover cooking and ensures that the steak will reach the perfect internal temperature.
When the steak is cooked, the muscle fibers contract and squeeze out the moisture, and if the steak is not given a chance to rest, the juices will not be reabsorbed into the meat and will end up on your plate.
See how long to leave steaks out and how to keep steak warm in this next post.
It is recommended to let your steak rest for at least 3 minutes after cooking to ensure that the juices are not lost.
It is also important to let your steak rest for 30 minutes to an hour before cooking, and season it all over with salt and pepper.
Learn more in this post about how long to leave a steak out before grilling.
Finally, it is important to pull the steak off the grill when it is five degrees shy of your desired temperature and let it rest for 5-7 minutes to seal in the juices before slicing.