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Old 06-21-2010, 07:11 PM   #1
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ISO tips to cook "rare - medium - well done"

ok, sometimes I'm lucky and I take steaks or burgers out at a perfect temperature (like medium or medium rare). I don't do too well with the feel method for some reason. I have some practice so I can sometimes figure it out time wise or try to do the feel method. I run into the problem of my steaks being over done a lot though.

If you use a thermometer to see if the steak and/or hamburger is at the temperature you want it, would you take the steak off the grill or pan at medium rare if you wanted medium. In other words, should I take it out before it gets to medium rare if I wanted it to be medium rare.

I'm guessing the answer will be yes, but just double checking.

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Old 06-21-2010, 07:42 PM   #2
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You've got the right idea. After you take a steak off the heat, it continues to cook. It can go up another 5 degrees. Larger pieces of meat, like a pork or beef roast, can go up 10-15 degrees.
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Old 06-21-2010, 08:47 PM   #3
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My steak is easy... get the grill screaming hot.. toss steak on.. count to 5, flip, count to 5 get it away from the heat.

For the rest of the world since the temp rises and most of the time they list the finished temp pull it little early. And I do think most of the listings are a tad high for temp to doneness s well.
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Old 06-22-2010, 07:10 AM   #4
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I see the chefs on TV, even culinary students, test the level of doneness of a steak simply by touch and it amazes me. I've always had to use a thermometer or cooking time.

I don't get it.
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Old 06-22-2010, 09:48 AM   #5
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I do the 2-2-2-2 method for medium rare steaks. You get a perfect crosshatch and the steaks are perfect everytime.

Start with room temp meat. Crank BBQ to scorch. Season meat, toss meat on for 2 minutes, flip for 2, flip again for 2(and turn so the sear marks intersect the first ones), and finally flip(and turn) for the last two.

By the time I get the BBQ turned off, yell at the dog not to lick the hot BBQ, get the steaks on the plate and juggle all my implements up to the house the meat has rested for probably another 2 minutes and they are perfect everytime.

Someone told me the "thumb" trick. You pinch the fold between your finger and thumb and move up by degrees. That is how the meat should "feel" at various degrees of doneness. Too hard for my overworked brain to remember so the 2's is my preferred method.
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Old 06-22-2010, 10:01 AM   #6
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I'm a thermometer and watch man, myself.
I time the food and measure temps with my thermometer.
After a few rounds, I don't need the thermometer any more, because I know
how long to cook a given cut or item!
Tried the thumb trick, didn't get very good results, but it sure does work for some people.
(Ditto the 2,2,2,2 for steaks, that's just about right! )
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Old 06-22-2010, 10:21 AM   #7
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The 2-2-2-2 method works well unless your steaks are 2+ inches thick, so IMHO everyone should learn multiple ways to test. The combo of touch and thermometer gives you the best of both worlds
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Old 06-22-2010, 10:28 AM   #8
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niquejim, you actually cook steaks that are 2+ inches thick? Holy moly. Our butcher is fairly um...rigid. Steaks are 1.25 inches at the MAX. Never more than that.

I will admit, if I'm cooking something other than steak I go by my gut to decide when its done.
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Old 06-22-2010, 10:30 AM   #9
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If you generally cook the same things repeatedly, it gets easier. Burgers - always the same size and same doneness levels. You set the grill up the same way every time and you know before you start it's 3-4 minutes per side - every time. The same for steaks that are always the same thickness. Easy.

The problem arises when you are doing stuff you don't always do or when you do items that are more difficult. Chicken breasts are not a uniform size and have to be thoroughly cooked. Larger pieces are harder to do. Infrequent items like (maybe) ribs, wings, whole chickens...

Your best and most reliable option is a thermometer. You can use either a probe type that stays in place during the cooking process - best for larger pieces; or an instant read for quickly testing smaller items like a steak or chicken breast.
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Old 06-22-2010, 10:35 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by legend_018 View Post
I don't do too well with the feel method for some reason...I run into the problem of my steaks being over done a lot though.
Readjust your idea of what done feels like then. If you often overcook then when using the feel method then take them off the grill before they feel done to you. Before you know it you will recognize when it feels right.

I use the feel method and while I do not get it 100% right all the time I am pretty close. I taught myself just by doing it and getting it wrong. Eventually I learned what wrong felt like and thus right felt different and I learned that too. For the times that I used a thermometer I would also use the touch method to learn at the same time. That way I could feel what 120 feels like vs. 130.

Yes, if you want med then pull it off when it is med-rare-ish. There will always be some carry over cooking. And you can always put it back on the grill and cook it a little more if it is not done enough to your liking.
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