If you’re anything like me, the way to check if a steak is done is to take a best guess at how long it has been on the grill and cut into it with a sharp knife for a peak. Sometimes I get lucky, but most of the time I check it too late and end up with a dried out steak. The other scenario is I check it too early and release the juices when I cut into it. Then I throw it back on the grill and end up with, you guessed it, a dried out steak.
I used to date a guy who was a master at grilling. Every steak was perfectly prepared and delicious. I asked him how he did it, and he explained that he touches it and went on with something about his hand. I wasn’t much of a cook back then and so his long explanation was lost on me. It was cataloged somewhere deep in my brain until recently.
I was hosting a BBQ and one of my guests is a chef. As he was skillfully manning the grill this memory came back to me. I asked him about the touching your hand business and he gave me the skinny on testing the doneness of steak. Thankfully, I will never destroy another piece of meat and I may just tuck my meat thermometer a little farther back in my kitchen drawer.
Now, you too can put this handy tool in your grilling toolbox.
Relax your left hand and touch the meaty part below your thumb with a finger from the other hand. This is how a raw steak feels.
Put your thumb and pointer finger together like you’re giving someone the A-OK sign and touch the same spot below your thumb. This is how a rare steak feels.
Medium Rare Steak
Put your middle finger on your thumb. You’ve got it. This is a medium rare steak.
Touch the ring finger and you have a medium steak.
Well Done Steak
Finally, for those of you who love a well done steak you know the drill. Put your thumb and pinkie together and see how firm the meaty part of your hand feels.
Wanting more information about testing the doneness of meat? Check out our featured video.