Checking the Doneness of Meat

Sneaking a Poke

So the president is coming over to your house for dinner, and he’s bringing his good friends Abraham Lincoln and Joan of Arc.  Ignoring the fact that Obama would be inviting zombies to your dinner party, you’re actually stressed over the process of properly cooking their filets.  Obama wants medium rare, Lincoln likes his still mooing, and Joan d’Arc ironically wants hers well-done.  You don’t want to cut into the steaks to check for the level of rosiness inside the beautifully charred exteriors – not only will it ruin the presentation, but the lovely juices will all leave the steak once you cut it up.  Disaster!

Actually, if your clever (Nancy Drew), you’ll employ the touch method to keep your steaks in check.  My new favorite blog and haberdashery of luxe ingredients, Marx Foods, put up a good post (and a graphic designer approved diagram) on comparing the finger feel of the steak to the feel of your hand.  A couple of notes on this touch test – assuming you aren’t feeling up the hot pan, you’re not going to burn yourself.  Also, this works on steaks, really.  For bigger items, like say a standing rib roast, use a good old meat thermometer.

Alright, here are the Marx family secrets (lol!)…

  1. Rare feels like the squishy part of your palm right under your thumb.
  2. Medium Rare feels like the area on your palm that falls directly above your thumb.
  3. Well Done feels like smack dab in the middle of your palm.

Here is their aforementioned slick diagram (thumbs up!):

Ok, so now you’re telling me that Abraham Lincoln brought Mary Todd with him and she’d like her steak medium.  And Joan d’Arc brought Charles Beaudelaire and he wants his steak “bleu” or raw.  How will you deal with these new permutations?  Well, simply recipes has a list of diagrams as well (that shouldn’t be shown to Brazilians for vulgarity, hahaha – Google it sometime) on touching your fingertips together in different ways to simulate doneness.  Very cool.  Check out the explanations on their site – the diagrams speak a thousand words.

This all being said, I’ve prescribed to the face test.  Similar to the palm poke test, it gets the job done, and also gives you an excuse to poke any of your dinner guests in the face if they walk into your kitchen uninvited.  I was going to include a crazy diagram of my own, but I couldn’t find anyone willing to be assaulted for my blog.  No worries – this is very straight forward in terms of getting the proper feel in relation to the steak.

  1. Your cheek is Rare
  2. Your chin is Medium Rare
  3. Your forehead is Well Done

Feeling good, feeling great?  Get cooking some steaks!

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