Getting steak cooking levels just right can be a tricky business, but with some steak-cooking know-how and our essential steak-cooking guide, you’ll never have to worry about steak again! Whether it’s steak for one or steak for many, we have the lowdown on how to cook each steak to perfection. We explain what steak cooking levels are, what steak pieces are best for each steak level and the cooking times and temperatures you need to know. Plus, we have easy-to-follow steak recipes, delicious side dishes to pair with steak and our favorite steak sauces. So grab your steak skillet – it’s time to cook up a perfectly cooked steak!
What Are The Steak Cooking Levels?
Steak is an American favorite and there are a several types of steak cooking levels to choose from. There are 5 types of steak cooking levels that most people request.
- Rare – Cooked quickly at a high temperature, steak cooked to rare will be warm in the center and remain pink throughout.
- Medium Rare – Cook steak medium rare for an interior that is warm and bright red.
- Medium – Steak cooked to medium will have a slightly brown core with a hint of pink in the middle.
- Medium Well – Cook steak medium well for an interior that is gray-brown throughout with a hint of pink on the outer edges.
- Well Done – Well done steak will be cooked through and through, leaving no pink in the center.
These cooking levels are measured by color but most importantly it requires the internal temperature of the meat to be a specific temperature.
What Are The Steak Cooking Times And Temperatures?
When cooking a steak you will need to reach a desired internal temperature, and that depends on the thickness of the steak. A good rule of thumb, is that every 1-inch steak will take about 8-9 minutes to cook on each side for rare steak. Increase the time in 2-minute increments for medium and well-done steak.
For example, if you are cooking a medium-well steak that is 2 inches thick, then you should cook it for 8 minutes per side, and the internal temperature should reach 150-158 degrees Fahrenheit. To get to a well-done steak, you will need to cook it at least 12 minutes per side until the internal temperature reaches 158-212 degrees Fahrenheit.
The best way to check the temperature of a steak is with a meat thermometer. Insert the metal tip of the thermometer into the middle of the steak.
Try not to insert too deep as you will go to the grill or frying pan and end up with an inaccurate reading. Leave the thermometer in the steak for a few seconds to get an accurate temperature reading.
Once the steak is at its ideal internal temperature, take it off the heat and let it rest a few minutes before serving.
How To Cook A Steak
Different steak cuts require different cooking methods, so before you begin make sure to research the steak cut.
For steak that is 1-inch thick or thicker, such as T-bone steak, bone-in ribeye steak, and porterhouse steak, searing in a hot skillet or on the grill and roasting in the oven is the best way to cook steak.
For steak that is thinner than 1 inch or for steak with delicate marbling, such as filet mignon and skirt steak, quick searing in a hot skillet or on the grill is the only method you need.
Cooking Rare Steak
To cook a rare steak , you will want to see red when it’s cut open. Sear steak for 1-2 minutes on each side at a temperature of 450°F. Then transfer steak to the oven and roast for approximately 5 minutes at 400°F. The internal temperature should be 120 to 130 degrees F.
If grilling, cook the steak about 4 minutes and 30 seconds per side. Add an extra 2 minutes per side if your steak is 2 inches thick.
Cooking Medium Rare Steak
To cook steak medium rare, sear steak for 1-2 minutes on each side at a temperature of 450°F. Then transfer steak to the oven and roast for approximately 7-8 minutes at 400°F. The internal temperature should be 131 to 139 degrees F. You’ll want to see a nice pink juicy center when cut open.
If grilling, cook the steak 5 minutes on each side. Add an additional 2 minutes for a 2 inch cut.
Cooking Medium Steak
To cook steak medium, sear steak for 1-2 minutes on each side at a temperature of 450°F. Then transfer steak to the oven and roast for approximately 9-10 minutes at 400°F. The internal temperature should be 140 to 149 degrees F. You’ll want to see a slightly pink center when cut open.
If grilling, cook steak 5 minutes and 30 seconds on each side. Add an additional 2 minutes for a 2 inch steak cut.
Cooking Medium-Well Steak
To cook steak medium-well, sear steak for 2 minutes on each side at a temperature of 450°F. Then transfer steak to the oven and roast for approximately 12-13 minutes at 400°F. The internal temperature should be 150 to 158 degrees F. You’ll want to see just a hint of pink left in the center when cut open.
If grilling steak, cook steak 6 minutes on each side. Add an additional 2 minutes for a 2 inch steak cut.
Cooking Well Done Steak
To cook steak well done, sear steak for 1-2 minutes on each side at a temperature of 450°F. Then transfer steak to the oven and roast for approximately 15-18 minutes at 400°F. The internal temperature should be 158 to 212 degrees F or higher when cut open.
If grilling, cook steak 6 minutes and 30 seconds on each side. Add an additional 2 minutes for a 2 inch steak cut.
No matter the steak level of cooking, it’s important to always let steak rest after cooking so that the juices redistribute and steak is extra tender and juicy.
What Are The Best Pieces Of Steak?
Each steak cut has its own unique flavor and texture which makes it important to pay attention when choosing the steak you want. Some steak cuts are better for grilling and others for pan frying.
The best steak cuts include rib steak, t-bone steak, flank steak and filet mignon. These steak cuts have the most flavor and tenderness when cooked correctly.
Here are the most commonly cooked cuts of steak:
- Short Loin – This is one of the best cuts and where the porterhouse and t-bone steak are taken. Best for grilling or pan-frying.
- Rib steak – Also known as Ribeye steak, this cut is full of flavor and best cooked on the grill or in a skillet.
- Sirloin – Similar to a short loin but has a stronger meat taste. Best for steak sandwiches, steak tacos, steak salads and steak burgers.
- New York Strip – Highest fat content but still very flavorful when cooked correctly.
- Brisket – A tough cut of steak that needs to be cooked slowly at low temperatures.
- Tenderloin – The most expensive steak cut, it is also the tender and mild flavored steak. Best for rare or medium-rare temperatures.
How To Store Cooked Steak?
Cooked steak should be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to three days. If steak has been cooked and then frozen, it can be safely stored for up to 3 months. When reheating steak, make sure the steak is cooked all the way through before serving.
The best way to reheat a cooked steak is to warm them up in a frying pan. Just note that when steak is recooked it should reach an internal temperature of 149 degrees F so it kills any bacteria.
By reheating a steak it will go up 2 cooking steak levels. So if you had a medium-rare steak it will be a medium-well, well done steak.
If you have a well done steak I don’t recommend recooking it.
Best Side Dishes For Steak
Some of the best side dishes for steak are mashed potatoes, grilled vegetables, mac and cheese and French fries. So if you’ve cooked the perfect steak remember to pick a delicious side dish to balance out your dinner!
Here is a list of some of our favorite side dishes for steak:
- The Best Keto Mac and Cheese
- Green Beans, Almonds and Bacon
- Keto Broccoli Salad with Bacon and Cheddar
- Low Carb Caesar Salad
- Keto Cauliflower Rice
- Low Carb Cauliflower Potato Salad
- Keto Mashed Cauliflower
- Roasted Broccolini, Green Beans and Carrots
If you are looking for a sauce to put on your steak try out a few of these:
- Low Carb Teriyaki Sauce
- Creamy Keto Mushroom Sauce
- 4 Ingredient Garlic Aioli
- Keto Creamy Chicken With Parmesan
- Low Carb BBQ Sauce
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, steak can be part of a ketogenic diet when consumed in moderation. However, steak should not be the only source of protein and fat as it is important to get a variety of both. Additionally, steak should always be cooked at low temperatures using healthy cooking methods such as grilling or baking to ensure that all the nutrients are retained.
Grilling steak is one of the most popular methods as it produces steak with a delicious, smoky flavor. However, steak can also be cooked in a skillet or oven to achieve the same great results. As steak cooks quickly at high temperatures, it is important to watch the steak carefully and not overcook it.
steak is an excellent source of protein, providing about 25 grams per 3-ounce portion. It also contains essential vitamins and minerals such as zinc and iron.
Yes, steak can be marinated and it will impart a delicious flavor. For the most flavorful steak, it is recommended to marinate steak for at least one hour before cooking. Be sure to discard any remaining marinade after it has been used.
Cooking steak at the ideal steak level is not only important for flavor and texture, but also for safety. Knowing steak levels of cooking, how to cook a steak correctly and the best side dishes for steak can help you create a delicious meal that everyone will enjoy. When it comes to steak, mastering the art of steak cooking takes time and practice, but with the right steak recipes and steak sauces, you can become a steak master in no time! Bon Appetit!
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