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When learning to cook, or even as a veteran cook, there is always room for learning. Furthering your knowledge will only make yourself a better cook but furthering your knowledge of proper cook temps of a variety of meats is extremely valuable.
That’s what we will cover with this blog series, the proper cooking temps of a variety meats at different doneness levels.
Want to learn the proper cooking temperature of other meats?
Internal Temperature of Beef
When cooking beef, it’s critical that you get the steak temperature exactly how you want it. Why? Because beef is one of the most diverse meats when cooking, as it can be cooked at a large range of “doneness” levels. Beef can be safely cooked and consumed at 5 different doneness levels ranging from 125ºF/52ºC at its lowest to 165ºF/74ºC at its highest. The perfect internal temperature of your beef is key to getting the correct doneness for you or your guest. How are you going to achieve this perfect cook? With the help of one of our ThermoPro food thermometers of course. Below we will walk through the 5 different levels of beef cooking temps and what you can expect from these different cook and we will also provide the recommended USDA steak doneness level.
Cooking your beef to a doneness level of Rare requires the internal temperature to be 125ºF/52ºC, which is considered the lowest safe temperature you can cook your beef to without endangering your health and others. This doneness level will give you a seared outside and a red, bloody inside. It is important to note that when cooking to a rare doneness level, the entire inside is not to be red, but around 75% of the inside should remain blood red. The taste should be tender and extremely juicy.
Below is an image of what should beef should look like when cooked to a Rare doneness level.
Medium Rare Temp
A medium rare steak temp should be done at 140ºF/60ºC. This cook is similar to a rare cook, as it will still have a reddish pink inside and can still be bloody and juicy. The main difference is that the outer layers of meat will be more colored and cooked compared to a cooler cook. Still expect a seared outside with this cook. The taste should result in a juicy and tender piece of beef.
Below is an image of what should beef should look like when cooked to a Medium Rare doneness level.
Medium is the most common cook and the recommended USDA temperature as it is the midway point between rare and well done. To achieve a medium steak temp, you will want to have the internal temperature of your beef at 150ºF/66ºC. Expect the inside of your meat to still have a pink look, but still be colored as the meat has been cooked at a higher temperature. A medium doneness level is a good choice if you are cooking for someone who cannot make up their mind on what cook they prefer. The taste should result in a tougher texture and should be slightly less juicy.
Below is an image of what should beef should look like when cooked to a Medium doneness level.
Medium Well Temp
As we begin to cook at higher temperatures, our doneness level colors will change. Expect a medium well done cook if you are cooking at 160ºF/71ºC. With this doneness level, you can expect an almost fully cooked brownish inside with a slight pink tinge. This doneness level still provides the juiciness of a medium cook with a more fully colored inside. This taste will be quite chewy and not much moisture left inside the meat.
Below is an image of what should beef should look like when cooked to a Medium Well doneness level.
Well Done Temp
Our final doneness level is one which is cooked at the highest temperature. To achieve a well done doneness level, you will want to cook your beef to an internal temperature of 165ºF/74ºC for the best results. Expect the inside of your meat to be fully brown and to be very colored as the meat has been cooked to its full taste potential. Best for those who do not like seeing a bloody cook! This will provide an almost leathery taste which some people prefer.
Below is an image of what should beef should look like when cooked to a Well Done doneness level.
The USDA gives us guidelines on safe eating temperatures when preparing our food, and it is advised that we follow them. Beef is a diverse meat that can be cooked between 125ºF/52ºC and 165ºF/74ºC, with a number of different “doneness” levels. Each level is only a few digress different but while cooking you want to be precise as possible as every degree counts! Good luck!
Instead of memorizing all these temps or checking back every time you cook, simply pick up a ThermoPro digital thermometer. Some models will have the settings programmed into their memory, while other models will have them written inside your owner’s manual.