The Difference Between Rare, Medium and Well-Done Steak: Know Your Steak

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The first thing you are asked when you order a steak meal is “How do you like your steak cooked?”. Everybody has their own preference, you might just not know yours yet.

The edges can be charred, the insides can be bloody, and the texture can be so different in so many amazing ways.

If you’re ready to learn more, then feel free to join me on this mouth-watering journey!

What Types of Steak Doneness is there?

While there are four main titles for the doneness of a steak, this does not mean that one of them is perfect for everyone. Some people prefer their steak to be cooked to a level of doneness in between the four main types.

Well-Done

A well-done steak is cooked all the way through. It is similar to that of a burger because it should be one consistent color from side to side.

You cook each side of the steak in a searing hot pan for 2-4 minutes and then lower the heat and cook again for another 4-6 minutes.

Because of the long cooking time, the steak will be quite tough and springy.

Know Your Steak: The Difference Between Rare, Medium and Well-Done Steak_cooks dream

Medium

A medium steak has a slightly tender texture and appears red in the middle part of the steak. The cooking time is relatively high still but is considerably shorter than a well-done steak.

After searing it on all edges, and do not forget the sides, you want to keep cooking it until it is soft to the touch but still warm and golden brown.

Rare

Rare steak is the more sought-after type of steak in restaurants and steakhouses.

It has a tender and amazing texture that melts in your mouth while tasting amazing. If you press down on it with a fork, you should see a red liquid come out of the steak. This is a mix of rendered fat and blood but is nowhere near as bad as that sounds.

To cook a rare steak, you want to sear it on all sides and then leave it to cook for a couple of minutes on each side, if that. A minute and a half will do just fine.

raw meat on white plate

Blue

Blue steak is disregarded in most environments as people seem to think it is actually blue, or raw. This is just a myth as blue steak is actually red and completely safe to eat,

To make the perfect blue steak, sear all edges and then cook it on each side for 40 seconds. It is a lot juicier than a rare steak and will have a very metallic taste thanks to all the blood but it still works well. They taste good and feel amazing.

Types of Steak cuts

A steak cut refers to where on the cow, or another animal if it is a steak from them, the meat is cut from. The list is very long and all different types of steak have their own unique textures and flavors.

The 9 types of steak cuts:

  • Ribeye
  • Sirloin
  • Filet Mignon
  • New York Strip
  • London Broil
  • T-Bone
  • Tomahawk
  • Skirt
  • Flank

If you are interested in other cuts of steak, perhaps read up on our comparison of sirloin and ribeye steaks!

Or if you fancy a 30 minute exploration into all cuts of cow, check out this video from the Babish Culinary Universe YouTube Channel

Every Cut of Beef! (Almost) | Basics with Babish

Health

The doneness of steak titled ‘Blue steak’ comes under a lot of flak as people think it is unhealthy or ‘raw’.

There is one crucial rule to follow to ensure the steak is safe to eat. The entirety of the outer surface should remain intact and be sealed. This is because, despite there being a low chance of it happening, some bacteria may be clinging onto the steak, as it does with all foods.

Once the steak is placed in the pan and seared, the bacteria will no longer pose a threat so the middle can be as raw as you like.

Aside from this, there is nothing unhealthy about eating a very rare, or uncooked steak. As long as the edges and outer surfaces are intact and have been seared then it is completely edible and safe.

How to Cook The Perfect Steak

Cooking the perfect steak is a lot easier than some would believe. You just require some olive oil, garlic, thyme, and your steak. It doesn’t matter what cut you have, it will still end up delicious.

The dish itself is up to you. You can decide what to have on the other parts of your plate as this is only a discussion about the best bit – the steak.

First off you want to put a pan big enough for your steak to sit flat in, on the hob of your cooker. Make sure the heat is very high as it is crucial to hear a sizzle when your steak makes contact.

Next, you want to rub each side of your steak with a mix of salt, pepper, and olive oil. Once it is fully coated in this mixture, lay it onto the pan and sear each and every side.

Steak Cuts

Once seared, leave the steak in the pan and crush some garlic in there alongside a sprig of thyme. Add some more olive oil into the pan and start basting your steak. For this, you need to grab a spoon and take the olive oil from the pan and pour it on top of the steak. Repeat this process until the steak has been sitting on that side for just under two minutes.

Turn the steak over and repeat the process of pouring the olive oil from the pan on the top of the steak by using a spoon. After the same amount of time has passed again, you can remove the steak from the pan and put it on a plate.

The remaining ingredients such as the garlic and thyme can be used to make a sauce, as can peppercorns if you placed those in the pan as well.

If these steps were followed correctly then you shall be dining like royalty.

Conclusion and Personal Opinion

There is no way to easily sum up the whole discussion of steak doneness. But one thing I will say is that it is best to get out there and experiment. If you can, buy a few steaks and throughout the week just try them at different levels of doneness. If you don’t like the well-done steak, then at least you know. This way, you are saved from the embarrassment of ordering the wrong type of steak at a restaurant.

Personally, I will always be a believer that the rarer the steak, the better it is.